J. Michael Riva (June 28, 1948 - June 7, 2012) was the production designer for The Goonies.

Life and career[edit | edit source]

Born as John Michael Riva in Manhattan, New York to Maria Elisabeth Siber, an actress, and William Riva, a set designer for Broadway shows. He attended and graduated from UCLA.

While most of his roles in the industry were for production design, he also served as an art director in a few films. The first movies Riva worked on were Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks and I Never Promised You A Rose Garden (the latter one he was uncredited for). He would later go on to do production design for movies such as Halloween II, Bad Boys, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Lethal Weapon 1, Lethal Weapon 2, and Lethal Weapon 4, Zathura, Spider-Man 3, and the first two Iron Man films. He also served as production designer for the 1996 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, and the 74th and 76th Academy Awards shows.

In 2012, during production of both Django Unchained and The Amazing Spider-Man, Riva suffered from a stroke. He passed away from complications due to it; he was 63 when he died.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Riva was responsible for the design of the various pirate artifacts in the film, including the map, doubloon, and Chester Copperpot's medallion. He personally darkened the map with mink oil and burned the edges with a Bunsen burner to age it. His team also helped decide on the Errol Flynn look of the Inferno.[1]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Goonies Souvenir Magazine
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.