In Memoriam: Nathan “Sonny” Sonnenfeld (1919 - 2016)

Live Design is saddened by the death of Nathan “Sonny” Sonnenfeld at the age of 96. A true legend in the lighting industry, Sonnenfeld began his career doing theatre at a summer camp at the age of 12. He went on to stage manage at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City where he also served as technical director in the 1940s. After serving in the US Army, he found himself working with Edward Kook and Stanley McCandless at Century Lighting, the US company that eventually became part of Strand Lighting. He became the ultimate salesman, eventually becoming a manufacturers' representative for companies Architectural Lighting, Daybrite McPhilben Omega, and Electronic Theatre Controls. He was a member of the IESNA since the 1950s as well as a fellow of USITT. He founded the Broadway Lighting Master Classes, now owned by Live Design, in 1992, with lighting designer Jules Fisher as the artistic headliner. He is survived by his son, film producer and director, Barry Sonnenfeld, daughter-in-law Susan, and granddaughter Chloe, as well as his companion, lighting designer, Jennifer Tipton. Sonnenfeld wished for no funeral, so he will be honored with a memorial party, to be announced at a later date.

Watch the video of Sonnenfeld below, as part of the Strand Centennial Video Project.

Video production by Jerry Murphy; interview by Ellen Lampert-Greaux.  

If you'd like to share your thoughts or memories, please email with the subject line: Remembering Sonny.

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