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Naftuli "Nathan" Hertz Juran (September 1, 1907 - October 23, 2002) was a Jewish-American film art director and film director who is most noted for winning the Academy Award for Best Art Direction for How Green Was My Valley and for directing science fiction and fantasy films such as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. He was also the brother of quality guru Joseph M. Juran.

Life and career

Juran was born to a Jewish family in Gura Humorului, Romania[1]. In 1912, he immigrated to America with his family, settling in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He earned a bachelor's degree in Architecture from the University of Minnesota. He also spent a summer studying at the École des Beaux-Arts before earning a master's degree in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With the construction industry at a standstill due to the Great Depression, Juran moved to Los Angeles, where he landed a job as a draftsman in the art department at RKO Radio Pictures. He later moved to 20th Century Fox, where he became art director on How Green Was My Valley.

Juran enlisted in the Navy during the Second World War and was assigned to first the Office of Strategic Services and then to the Royal Air Force Intelligence Center.[2]

He began his career as an art director, winning an Oscar for his work on How Green Was My Valley (1941), and a nomination for The Razor's Edge (1946). His other credits in the field included Charley's Aunt (1941), Winchester '73 (1950), and Harvey (1950).

As a director, his best-known efforts were in the science fiction and fantasy genres, often with producer Charles H. Schneer, among which were Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958, credited as Nathan Hertz), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and First Men on the Moon (1964), based on the novel by H.G. Wells.[3] His television work included Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and Land of the Giants.

In 1999, he was honored with the Lifetime Career Award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA.

He died at the age of 95 in Palos Verdes, California.


  1. ^ Juran, Joseph M. (2004), Architect of Quality: The Autobiography of Dr. Joseph M. Juran (1 ed.), New York City, New York: McGraw-Hill, p. 354–355, ISBN 9780071426107, OCLC 52877405  
  2. ^ "Nathan Juran, 95; Art Director, Filmmaker", The Los Angeles Times: B12, November 1, 2002  
  3. ^ Westfahl, Gary, Gary Westfahl's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Film,, retrieved 2008-04-05  

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