Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

As an employee of Paramount Pictures, Michael (Mickey) Simpson Michaels (9 October 193120 March 1999; age 67) was the set decorator on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's first season.

He shared an Emmy Award nomination with production designer Herman Zimmerman and art director Randy McIlvain in the category of Outstanding Individual Achievement in Art Direction for a Series for DS9's pilot episode, "Emissary".


Michaels previously received an Emmy nomination in Outstanding Art Direction for his work on another popular science fiction series, classic Battlestar Galactica. He shared this nomination with fellow set decorator Lowell Chambers and art director John E. Chilberg II, who later worked on Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Michaels began his career as the set decorator on the 1970 film Airport, which featured the likes of Michael Bell, Whit Bissell, William Boyett, and Celia Lovsky. He earned an Academy Award nomination in Best Art Direction-Set Decoration for his work on this film and would return for all three sequels: Airport 1975 (1974, featuring Irene Tsu), Airport '77 (1977, featuring Robert Foxworth, Robert Hooks, Charles Macaulay, and Michael Pataki), and The Concorde... Airport '79 (1979, featuring Ed Begley, Jr., Nicholas Coster, Robin Gammell, and David Warner). He received his second and last Academy Award nomination for Airport '77.

From 1972 through 1974, Michaels was the primary set decorator on the television series Emergency! His later set decoration credits include two 1980s Police Story TV movies – 1987's The Freeway Killings, which featured Marc Alaimo and James B. Sikking, and 1988's The Watch Commander, featuring David Graf, Gregg Henry, Roy Jenson, Carlos Lacamara, and cinematography by Gayne Rescher – and the feature films Raise the Titanic (1980, featuring Paul Carr, Michael Ensign, Charles Macauley, Stewart Moss, Michael Pataki, Mark L. Taylor, and cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti), The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper (1981, featuring Nicholas Coster and cinematography by Charles F. Wheeler), Warning sign (1985, starring Jerry Hardin and Keith Szarabajka), and Hot to Trot (1988, starring Virginia Madsen and Jim Metzler).

Michaels was contracted to Paramount Pictures for five years, from 1989 through 1994. During this time, he worked on Star Trek VI and DS9 as well as the hit films The Hunt for Red October (1990, featuring Daniel Davis, Boris Lee Krutonog, and Gates McFadden), Flight of the Intruder (1991, under production designer Jack T. Collis), The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991, featuring John Fleck), and Clear and Present Danger (1994, featuring Vaughn Armstrong, Reg E. Cathey, Raymond Cruz, Elizabeth Dennehy, Ellen Geer, Aaron Lustig, and Harris Yulin, with music by James Horner). After leaving Paramount, Michael worked on two submarine movies: the 1995 thriller Crimson Tide (featuring Scott Grimes) and the 1996 comedy Down Periscope (starring Kelsey Grammer). Two of the submarine movies on which Michaels worked – The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide – featured art direction by Star Trek Generations set decorator Dianne Wager and Star Trek Nemesis art director Donald B. Woodruff.

Hailing from Santa Monica, California, Michaels died of natural causes in Los Angeles in 1999.

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