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Leo Edwin Kuter (1897-1970) was born in Shannon, Illinois, and in 1911 moved to Los Angeles, where he later graduated from Manual Arts High School. After working as a clerk for several different businesses, he went back to school to study art and architecture, which led to a job designing furniture for Barker Bros. Kuter entered the film industry in 1921 when he was hired as a draftsman at Paramount. He soon moved to Metro as chief draftsman and while there worked for director Rex Ingram on such films as "The Prisoner of Zenda" (1922) and "Trifling Women" (1922), receiving his first screen credit for the latter. Kuter was next hired by the Pickford studio as set designer for "Rosita" (1923) and then by Universal as art director for such films as "The Mad Whirl" (1925) and "What Happened to Jones" (1926). In 1925 Kuter again changed studios when he joined Warner Bros. and worked as art director on "The Caveman" (1926) and "Silken Shackles" (1926), among other films. He received no screen credit for his work at Warner, however. At Fox he art directed such films as "The Monkey Talks" (1927), "Hangman's House" (1928), and "A Girl in Every Port" (1928), again receiving no screen credit. In 1929 Kuter joined RKO as a set designer and soon was named chief draftsman, a position he held until 1932. He rejoined Warner Bros. in 1933 as set designer, and two years later he became an assistant art director, first to Robert Haas, then to Carl Weyl, and finally to Anton Grot. In 1942 he was promoted to art director for "The Last Ride" (1944) and went on to design "Key Largo" (1948), "Rio Bravo" (1959), "A Summer Place" (1959), and "PT-109" (1963), as well as others. His final film was "Three on a Couch" (1966). Active in various attempts at unionizing art directors, Kuter was involved with and served on the boards of such groups as Cinemagundi (1924-1937), United Scenic Artists (1928-1942), Federated Motion Picture Crafts (1931-1937), and the Society of Motion Picture Art Directors (1941- ).
Drawing for "April in Paris" fromthe Leo “K” Kuter papers