Welcome to Jim Hill Media - Entertainment News : Theme Parks Movies Television

Themed entertainment professionals to honor Stephanie Girard's memory tonight by holding ACS fundraiser

Themed entertainment professionals to honor Stephanie Girard's memory tonight by holding ACS fundraiser

Rate This
  • Comments 1

In response to Wednesday's Entertainment Designer Forum article, JacksBack wrote in to say:


Paper model of Wizard's Crag from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands
of Adventure. Signed by Ray Keim, this one-of-a-kind collectable will be just one of the items
up for bid at tonight's silent auction. Image courtesy of the Entertainment Designer Forum.
All rights reserved

It was great to get to see all of those props from Halloween Horror Nights and Howl-O-Scream. But who's this Stephanie Girard person? And why are so many people from themed entertainment coming together to collect money for the American Cancer Society in her name?


Stephanie Girard (right foreground) speaks at the first Entertainment

Designer Forum event in April of 2010.
Image courtesy of the
Entertainment Designer Group. All rights reserved

Dear JacksBack


Stephanie Girard and her Labordoodle
Jack. Image courtesy of the Entertain-
ment Design Group. All rights
reserved

Stephanie Lynn Seaman Girard was a noted Art Director & Set Designer in the film, television and theme park industries. If you caught "Ray," that Academy Award-winning film from 2004 about rhythm & blues legend Ray Charles ... Well, then you saw some of Stephanie's work. Mrs. Girard designed those weathered sharecropper shacks that young Ray and his family lived in.


Copyright 2004 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved

Likewise, if you ever went to Universal's Islands of Adventure in December to experience Grinchmas ... Stephanie was one of the lead designer on this theme park's original iteration of this Seuss-themed holiday fest. She was the one who dreamed up that wonky, twisted & over-decorated Christmas tree which served as the centerpiece of this seasonal Whobilation.


Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

But if you want to know why it is exactly that so many from the themed entertainment business will be taking time out of their obviously-already-busy Easter Weekends to honor Mrs. Girard's memory by taking part in this ACS Relay for Life event ... Well, we then have to shift focus away from Stephanie-the-designer and start talking about Stephanie-the-person.


Bill & Ted Wyld Stallyns World Tour shirt from the 2010
editions of Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal
Orlando Resort. This one-of-a-kind collectable will
be up for bid in tonight's silent auction. Image
courtesy of the Entertainment Designer Forum.
All rights reserved

Which is why - earlier this week - I reached out to Universal scenic designer Kim Gromoll. Who is only the guy who pulled together the Entertainment Designer Forum (which will be held tonight, April 22nd at Orlando's Mad Cow Theatre), but he was also Girard's longtime friend.


Zombie cycle mask from the 2010 edition of Halloween Horror Nights at
the Universal Orlando Resort. This one-of-a-kind collectable will be
among the items up for bid as part of tonight's silent auction.
Image courtesy of the Entertainment Designer Forum.
All rights reserved

"I must have known Stephanie for 10 years," Kim recalled. "We didn't really get close 'til the last 6 or 7 years of her life. But she was the smartest, wittiest person. You could talk to her about anything."


Frankenstein creature costume from the 2007 version
of Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando
Resort. This one-of-a-kind collectable will be among
the pieces up for bid at tonight's silent auction.
Image courtesy of the Entertainment Designer
Forum. All rights reserved

And when Gromoll says "anything," he means ANYTHING. Girard's enthusiasms ran from college ball ("She loved her Gators," Kim recalled) to food and wine ("She was the one who taught me about sushi," Gromoll continued). Stephanie was also incredibly well-read. Which is why everything that she designed for film, television and the theme parks had its own unique look & charm."


Copyright DreamWorks Pictures. All rights reserved

"I remember watching 'Dreamer,'  this Kurt Russell movie that Stephanie worked on, and then calling her up to say 'You designed the barn and the farmhouse in that film, didn't you?' ," Gromoll said. "And she was just so pleased that I had been able to pick out her stuff out like that. But there was such an obvious quality to Stephanie's work. An attention to detail that you just don't see with a lot of other designers."


Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning on a set that Stephanie Girard designed for "Dreamer."
Copyright DreamWorks Pictures. All rights reserved

Of course, some of that may because Mrs. Girard flat-out worked harder than a lot of her contemporaries. Witness what happened on George Clooney's 2008 film, "Leatherheads."


Copyright 2008 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved

"They were shooting on location in North Carolina when word got out that George Clooney was doing a movie in the area. The next thing they know, 600 Clooney fans show up and disrupt the shoot. So 'Leatherheads' producers then made the decision that they're going to turn a lot of this film's exterior scenes into interiors. So somebody had to then design a lot of new sets on the fly. And that person was Stephanie," Kim continued. "She had put in 12 hour days, 7 days a week. But Stephanie actually pulled it off."


The Boris Shuster paper model from the 2008 edition
of Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando
Resort. This signed one-of-a-kind collectable will be
just one of the items featured in tonight's silent
auction. Image courtesy of the Entertainment
Designer Forum. All rights reserved

Which was all the more remarkable, given that - around this same time - Mrs. Girard was right in the middle of her six-year-long fight with colon cancer.


ZAP jumpsuit from Zombiegeddon, one of the highlights
of the 2010 edition of Halloween Horror Nights at the
Universal Orlando Resort. This one-of-a-kind
collectable will be just of the piece up for bid
tonight at the silent auction. Image courtesy
of the Entertainment Designer Forum.
All right reserved

"That was what was truly amazing about Stephanie. She never stopped fighting. She never let her cancer define her," Gromoll remembered. "Whenever we talked, it was never about what she was going through. It was always 'How are you doing, Kim? What's going on your life.' Her attitude, her energy level, her work ethic were an inspiration to us all."


Paper model of the Skoolhouse from the 2008 version of Halloween
Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando Resort. Signed by Ray Keim,
this one-of-a-kind collectable will be just one of the items featured in
tonight's silent auction. Image courtesy of the Entertainment
Designer Forum. All rights reserved

And the mere fact that Mrs. Girard could take a personal problem like colon cancer and then turn it into a reason to reach out & help others ... To volunteer at the Give Kids the World Village ... or to take Jack, her beloved Labordoodle around to hospitals & assisted living facilities so that this certified therapy dog could then lift patient's spirits ... or to raise $33,000 all by herself for the American Cancer Society ... That's the sort of selfless person she was. The sort of role model that we all could use in life.


Vampire bride dress from the 2009 edition of Halloween
Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando Resort. This one-
of-a-kind collectable will be just one of the pieces up for
bid tonight in this event's silent auction. Image courtesy
of the Entertainment Designer Forum. All rights reserved

And given that last year's Entertainment Designer Forum was something that Kim and Stephanie did together in order to raise money for ACS's Relay for Life ... Well, to honor Mrs. Girard's memory (Stephanie passed away in December of last year), Gromoll intends to keep this fund-raising event going for as long as her can.


Paper model of the Dreamwalkers house from the 2007 edition of Halloween Horror Nights
at the Universal Orlando Resort. Signed by Ray Keim, this one-of-a-kind collectable will be
just one of the pieces up for bid at tonight's silent auction. Image courtesy of the
Entertainment Designer Forum. All rights reserved

"I've already been talking with friends who work in the themed entertainment industry about the 2012 event. I want a whole new set of panelists for that version of the Entertainment Designer Forum," Kim stated. "No repeats from the 2010 or 2011 editions. As long as the very kind people at the Mad Cow Theatre allow me to keep coming back here, I'll keep on staging these ACS fundraisers. Which is just what Stephanie would have done."


Lights Camera Hacktion film vest from the 2009 edition
of Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Orlando
Resort. This one-of-a-kind costume piece will be just
one of the items up for bid at tonight's silent auction.
Image courtesy of the Entertainment Designer Forum.
All rights reserved

So if you'd like to help out a really worthy cause (not to mention hear some terrific behind-the-scenes stories as well as bid on some of the one-of-a-kind collectables which I've used as illustrations for today's JHM article), be sure and drop by the Mad Cow Theatre tonight and catch either the 6:30 or the 9 p.m. session of the Entertainment Designer Forum.


Ray Keim's paper model of the Bates House from Halloween Horror
Nights at Universal Orlando. This signed one-of-a-kind collectable
will be just one of the items featured in tonight's silent auction.
Image courtesy of the Entertainment Designer Forum.
All rights reserved

Tickets are just $25 each. Please be aware, though, that seating is limited at the Mad Cow Theatre. So if you want to be sure and snag a seat for this one-of-a-kind event, you should probably purchase your tickets ASAP.  Which you can do by dropping by at the box office at the Mad Cow Theatre (which is located at 105 S. Magnolia Avenue in downtown Orlando), by calling 407-297-8788 and/or swinging by the Mad Cow Theatre's website, www.madcowtheatre.com.


Cindy's dress from the 2010 version of Halloween Horror
Nights at the Universal Orlando Resort. This one-of-a-kind
costume piece is just one of the collectables that will be
up for bid in tonight's silent auction. Image courtesy of
the Entertainment Designer Forum. All rights reserved

Your thoughts?

Blog - Post Feedback Form
Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Post
  • Hey Jim --

    Sounds like she was an amazing woman.  I just wanted to say "Thank You" for explaining in your article why her dog is wearing a blue vest in their picture - that he's a certified therapy dog.  We've raised a Guide Dog puppy and dogs in vests always catch my eye!  Gives me even more respect for her.

Page 1 of 1 (1 items)