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Chip Dox, Former GH Production Designer, Dead at 80

The award-winning set designer for GH and DAYS will be missed.

general hospital ex-production designer chip dox dead at 80The late Chip Dox designed sets for GH and DAYS.

You may not have known his name, but soap fans have been watching the creations of Chip Dox on daytime dramas General Hospital and Days of our Lives for decades. Sadly, the former production designer, who designed rooms at the Quartermaine mansion and other sets, passed away on August 15.

Chip Dox: In Memoriam

“Frankly, I think at this time, anyone’s chances of making a living in the film industry are terrible.” Had Dox taken to heart a 1970 rejection letter from a studio executive (who wrote the above), he would not have spent the past five decades working as an award-winning art director and production designer.

Attending the Carnegie Institute of Technology (AKA Carnegie Mellon University), getting some experience in local theater, serving two years in the U.S. Army, and going back to his alma mater to teach, Dox was determined, regardless of the rejection letters, to move to the West Coast and launch his career in the entertainment industry.

Dox’s designs extended beyond the soap opera world. He designed rock & roll touring shows for world-renowned acts, including Elton John, The Beach Boys, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Jackson Browne. He worked with Tracey Ullman on her sitcom Tracey Takes On…, as well as the Lifetime comedy series, Oh Baby. Chip also spent time at Telemundo, working on the sitcoms Viva Vegas and Los Beltran.

But Daytime TV was where Dox truly made his mark as a production designer for more than 27 years. Working in soap operas allowed him to showcase his ingenuity and limitless creativity.

Dox began his career in soaps as art director at Days of our Lives. After a decade in that post, he became the show’s production designer from 1990 to 1997. It was not unusual for Dox to bicker over budgets with DAYS’ producer Jeanne Haney — his wife! Despite their heated discussions, the couple wed after a decade of working together. The pair had just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary.

“I first met Chip at DAYS about 30 years ago,” says Jennifer Elliott-Maynes, GH’s production designer. Dox was at DAYS when the show established Salem Place, an outdoor mall, and when Marlena (Deidre Hall) was first was possessed by the devil. “The man was like a second father to me. When you spend 30 years with someone like that, it’s just incredible. He taught so many of us. We were all just so blessed to know him and learn from him.

“Once you were a friend of Chip’s, you stayed in the family,” warmly shares Elliott-Maynes, who says Dox brought her to GH after he became the hospital-themed soap’s production designer. He also worked on sets on Port Charles and the SOAPnet short-lived series Night Shift. After the former show ended, Dox wisely made sure part of it lived on over on GH.

“Chip had this great idea to merge [the hospital hub set on GH] with pieces from Nightshift,” Elliott-Maynes shares. “He added onto it, blended two sets together, and moved it to the end of the stage so we could get some height on it. He made it into this ‘super-hub.'”

Maynes-Elliott recalls Frank Valentini, executive producer, standing in front of the hospital hub set after arriving in Port Charles following the cancellation of One Life to Live. “I remember Frank giving a wonderful speech to everyone when he came to the show,” Maynes-Elliott recalls. “He said he was so excited that he got to work with this — referring to the hub.”

In 1997, Dox won his first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Set Direction for his work on DAYS. He earned his second statuette for his work at GH in 2011. Dox earned a Prime Time Emmy nomination in 1998 for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program for Tracey Takes On….

Dox was generous in every aspect of his life. He mentored up-and-coming art directors, giving them an opportunity to start their careers, helping to re-design a Pilates studio where Haney convinced him to “try it just once” (and he continued going for over 22 years) or volunteering with California advocacy group Hang Out Do Good, preparing brown bag lunches every Sunday for the homeless. He volunteered to work on Broadway charity events and designed numerous family weddings and parties.

As proud as Dox was of his professional work, he was devoted even more to his family. He and Haney affectionately called their home “Windblown Manor.” In addition to Haney, Dox is survived by daughters Morgan Dox, Katie Segal, Hayley Dox-DaCosta, and stepdaughter Megan Younger and their families, granddaughters Rae Kim, Kiddo Dox-DaCosta, and grandsons Henry and Charlie Segal as well as a large extended family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to an organization that was near and dear to Dox — The World Central Kitchen. Soap Hub sends sincere condolences to Dox’s family, loved ones, and colleagues at this difficult time.

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