Wife Jean Pettibone
3332 1st Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
6661 Emmet Terrace, Hollywood, CA
Foy House, 631 S. Witmer St., Los Angeles
Francis Keogh Gleason (April 14, 1906 – December 18, 1982) was a resident set decorator at MGM studios for over 40 years. In that time he won 4 Academy Awards (for An American in Paris in 1951, The Bad and the Beautiful in 1952, Somebody Up There Likes Me in 1956 and "Gigi" in 1958) and was nominated an additional 3 times.
The design and execution of the 1939's classic The Wizard of Oz was the work of gay hands. The MGM prop department was presided over by a group of remarkable men, all gay, from the chief, Edwin Willis, through the talended decorators: Richard Pefferle, Jack Moore, Keogh Gleason, Henry Grace, and many others.
Property chief Edwin Willis was viewed as somewhat arrogant and aloof by his staff, even a bit sadistic, canceling vacations cavalierly at the last minute. His homosexuality was known, but there was little fraternization. Among the rest of them, however, there was a very real brotherhood. "Henry Grace, Jack Moore, Dick Pefferle, and Keogh Gleason shared an office, each with their own desk," Frank Lysinger recalled. "There was always a lot of carrying on. Jack and Henry also shared a house down in Manhattan Beach where they'd have some pretty wild weekends."
Francis Keogh Gleason was born in Minneapolis, the son of Edward L. Gleason. He graduated from the Minnesota School of Fine Arts (now known as the Minneapolis College of Art and Design) in 1927.
Of the MGM group, Keogh Gleason was the only one to marry. Frank Lysinger said the marriage was one of convenience: Gleason's wife, Jean Pettibone, an account executive for Ralston and Purina, was a lesbian who wanted to adopt a child. But when she discovered Keogh's involvement with an Italian actor several years later, she started divorce proceedings; Louella Parsons reported she was "very sorry" to hear of the break-up of the Gleasons' seventeen-year marriage.
In 1981 he was in charge of the interior renovation of the Foy House, 631 S. Witmer St., just west of downtown Los Angeles. Designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #8 in 1962, the house was originally built in 1873 at 7th and Figueroa Streets by Sameul C. Foy. Mary E. Foy, his daughter, lived in the house for many years. In 1880 Miss Foy became the third city librarian, the first woman to hold this office. Active in politics, Miss Foy championed the cause of women's suffrage in California, heloed organize the California Parlor of the Native Daughters of the Golden West and was one of the founders of First Century Families. At the time of her death in 1962, just months short of her 100th birthday, she was the oldest living graduate of Los Angeles High School, and the oldest retired teacher. The house was completely restored in 1974, according to Richard Foss, vice president of Magma Power, which occupied the house in the 1980s. When Gleason revovated its interiors, they even went to France for authentic wallpaper, said Foss.
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