Riverside Memorial Chapel

180 West 76th Street, New York, NY


Edward Lee PISONI

March 25, 1943February 10, 2020

Edward L. Pisoni, a film and television production designer and art director, passed away at the age of 76 on February 10, 2020, in New York City. Pisoni was a frequent collaborator with renowned directors Herbert Ross and Sidney Lumet. The films he designed include The Verdict, starring Paul Newman directed by Lumet, Steel Magnolias, The Secret of My Success, starring Michael J. Fox, and True Colors, all directed by Ross; The Hand That Rocks the Cradle directed by Curtis Hanson; 84 Charing Cross Road starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins; and Jacknife, starring Robert DeNiro. Episodic television designs include Damages, starring Glenn Close; and the pilot episode of The Sopranos, for which he received a Television Academy Emmy Award nomination.

Born on March 25, 1943, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Angeline and Anthony Pisoni, Edward grew up in the Italian neighborhood, The Hill. He attended St. Louis University High School, studied theater at St. Louis University and then earned a Master of Fine Arts in Drama in 1967 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, in Pittsburgh. Following graduation, Edward accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University, and then at Illinois Wesleyan University where he taught theater arts and designed sets for many of the schools' theatrical productions.

In 1972, Edward relocated to New York City where he started out as a theater set designer and eventually segued into an accomplished career in the film business. Before moving up to production design, as an art director his films include The King of Comedy, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Death Trap, and Prince of the City.

A number of his set drawings for his design of The Verdict and several other films are held by the Museum of the Moving Image, in Queens, New York.

Through his years at university and beyond, Edward collected a large group of devoted friends with whom he shared his love of the arts, especially opera and theater. Edward is survived by his twin brother Michael Pisoni, of Milan, Italy; his older brother James Pisoni, of Arnold, Missouri; nephew James Pisoni Jr. and his wife, Susan, of Chesterfield, Missouri; nephew Paul Pisoni and his wife, Cami, of Parkville, Missouri; niece Christy Pisoni Labitska and her husband, Kenneth, of Columbia, Illinois; and great nieces and nephews Matthew, Tyler, Sara, Lauren, and Anthony.

He was loved and cared for by his New York City family, including Robert Berg, Robert Braun, John Kasarda, and Catherine Tambini. His family and friends will all miss him profoundly. A funeral mass will be held at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in St Louis, Missouri, on Saturday February 15, 2020, at 10 AM. A celebration of Edward’s life will be held at a later date in New York City. Please consider making a donation in Edward’s name to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (www.michaeljfox.org) or SAGE’s Friendly Visitor Program (sagenyc.org/nyc).


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Edward Lee PISONI

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Ellen Perry (Jackson)

February 13, 2020

Ed was a spritely slender guy, sometimes shy, but always full of fun, playful and quirky. We did summer theatre together and roamed the streets of Gaslight Square (mid-town STL) hanging around for the music because we were all too young to drink. Some in that crowd were Cynthia David, Richard Fuchs, Ed Pisoni and me.

I lost touch with Ed in the late 60s after college but followed his spectacular career and I was always so proud of his having made his mark. Rest in peace dear Ed. You were one of a kind.