Edith Head - Writer





Costume Designer. Nationality: American. Born: Edith Claire Posener in San Bernardino, California, 28 October 1897. Education: Attended elementary school in Redding, California to 1911; schools in Los Angeles; University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; also attended classes at Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Art School, both in Los Angeles. Family: Married 1) Charles Head (divorced 1938); 2) the designer Wiard Ihnen, 1940 (died 1979). Career: French, Spanish, and art teacher at Bishop School for Girls, La Jolla, California, and at Hollywood School for Girls, 1923; 1924–27—sketch artist; 1927–38—assistant to Travis Banton; 1938–66—head of design, Paramount; then chief designer at Universal until her death; also designed for other studios, for stage shows, and for commercial companies; 1945–52—regular appearances on the radio show Art Linkletter's House Party (and on TV, 1952–69); 1949–51—lecturer, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (also in 1973); 1978—designed for the TV mini-series Little Women . Awards:

Edith Head (left)
Edith Head (left)
Academy Award for The Heiress , 1949, Samson and Delilah , 1950, All About Eve , 1950, A Place in the Sun , 1951, Roman Holiday , 1953, Sabrina , 1954, The Facts of Life , 1960, and The Sting , 1973. Died: In Los Angeles, California, 26 October 1981.


Films as Costume Designer:

1924

Peter Pan (Brenon) (co)

1925

The Golden Bed (De Mille) (co); The Wanderer (Walsh) (co)

1926

Mantrap (Fleming)

1927

Wings (Wellman)

1929

The Saturday Night Kid (Sutherland) (co); The Virginian (Fleming); The Wolf Song (Fleming)

1930

Along Came Youth (Corrigan and McLeod); Follow the Leader (Taurog); Only the Brave (Tuttle); The Santa Fe Trail (Brower and Knopf)

1932

The Big Broadcast of 1932 (Tuttle); A Farewell to Arms (Borzage) (co); He Learned about Women (Corrigan); Hot Saturday (Seiter); Love Me Tonight (Mamoulian); The Sign of the Cross (Banton) (co); Two Kinds of Women (W. De Mille); Undercover Man (Flood); Wayward (Sloman)

1933

A Cradle Song (Leisen) (co); Crime of the Century (Beaudine) (co); Duck Soup (McCarey); Gambling Ship (Gasnier and Marcin); Hello, Everybody (Seiter); I'm No Angel (Ruggles) (co); She Done Him Wrong (L. Sherman); Sitting Pretty (H. Brown); Strictly Personal (Murphy); White Woman (Walker) (co)

1934

Ladies Should Listen (Tuttle); Little Miss Marker (Hall); Many Happy Returns (McLeod); The Notorious Sophie Lang (Murphy) (co); The Pursuit of Happiness (Hall); The Witching Hour (Hathaway); You Belong to Me (Werker)

1935

The Big Broadcast of 1936 (Taurog); Car 99 (Barton); The Crusades (De Mille) (co); Father Brown, Detective (Sedgwick); Four Hours to Kill (Leisen); The Glass Key (Tuttle); Here Comes Cookie (McLeod); Hold 'em, Yale (Lanfield); The Last Outpost (Barton and Gasnier); The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (Hathaway) (co); Man on the Flying Trapeze (Bruckman); Men without Names (Murphy); Mississippi (Sutherland); People Will Talk (Santell); Peter Ibbetson (Hathaway); Ruggles of Red Gap (McCarey) (co); Stolen Harmony (Werker); Two for Tonight (Tuttle); Wings in the Dark (Flood)

1936

The Accusing Finger (Hogan); The Big Broadcast of 1937 (Leisen); Border Flight (Lovering); College Holiday (Tuttle); Collegiate (Murphy); Hollywood Boulevard (Florey); The Jungle Princess (Thiele); Lady Be Careful (Reed); The Milky Way (McCarey); Murder with Pictures (Barton); Poppy (Sutherland); The Return of Sophie Lang (Archainbaud); Rhythm on the Range (Taurog); Rose Bowl (Barton); The Texas Rangers (K. Vidor); Thirteen Hours by Air (Leisen); Three Cheers for Love (McCarey); Till We Meet Again (Florey); Too Many Parents (McGowan); Wedding Present (Wallace); Wives Never Know (Nugent) (co); Woman Trap (Young)

1937

Arizona Mahoney (Hogan); Artists and Models (Walsh) (co); The Barrier (Selander); Blonde Trouble (Archainbaud); Blossoms on Broadway (Wallace); Borderland (Watt); Born to the West (Barton); Bulldog Drummond Comes Back (L. King); Bulldog Drummond Escapes (Hogan); Bulldog Drummond's Revenge (L. King); Clarence (Archainbaud); The Crime Nobody Saw (Barton); Daughter of Shanghai (Florey); A Doctor's Diary (C. Vidor) (co); Double or Nothing (Reed); Easy Living (Leisen) (co); Ebb Tide (Hogan); Exclusive (Hall); Forlorn River (Barton); Girl from Scotland Yard (Vignola); The Great Gambini (C. Vidor); Her Husband Lies (Ludwig) (co); Hideaway Girl (Archainbaud); Hills of Old Wyoming (Watt); Hold 'em, Navy (Neumann); Hopalong Rides Again (Selander); Hotel Haywire (Archainbaud); Interns Can't Take Money (Santell); John Meade's Woman (Wallace) (co); King of Gamblers (Florey); The Last Train from Madrid (Hogan); Let's Make a Million (McCarey); Love on Toast (Dupont); Make Way for Tomorrow (McCarey); Midnight Madonna (Flood); Mind Your Own Business (McLeod); Mountain Music (Florey); Murder Goes to College (Riesner); Night Club Scandal (Murphy); A Night of Mystery (Dupont); North of the Rio Grande (Watt); On Such a Night (Dupont); Outcast (Florey); Partners in Crime (Murphy); Partners of the Plains (Selander); Rustler's Valley (Watt); She Asked for It (Kenton); She's No Lady (C. Vidor); Sophie Lang Goes West (Riesner) (co); Souls at Sea (Hathaway); Texas Trail (Selman); This Way, Please (Florey); Thrill of a Lifetime (Archainbaud); Thunder Trail (Barton); True Confession (Ruggles) (co); Turn Off the Moon (Seiler); Waikiki Wedding (Tuttle); Wells Fargo (Lloyd); Wild Money (L. King)

1938

The Arkansas Traveler (Santell); Bar 20 Justice (Selander); Artists and Models Abroad (Leisen) (co); The Big Broadcast of 1938 (Leisen); Booloo (Elliott); The Buccaneer (De Mille); Bulldog Drummond in Africa (L. King); Campus Confessions (Archainbaud); Bulldog Drummond's Peril (Hogan); Cassidy of Bar 20 (Selander); Coconut Grove (Santell); College Swing (Walsh); Dangerous to Know (Florey); Doctor Rhythm (Tuttle) (co); The Frontiersman (Selander); Give Me a Sailor (Nugent); Heart of Arizona (Selander); Her Jungle Love (Archainbaud); Hunted Men (L. King); Illegal Traffic (L. King); In Old Mexico (Venturini); King of Alcatraz (Florey); Little Orphan Annie (Holmes); Men with Wings (Wellman); The Mysterious Rider (Selander); Pride of the West (Selander); Prison Farm (L. King); Professor Beware (Nugent); Ride a Crooked Mile (Green); Say It in French (Stone); Scandal Sheet (Hogan); Sing, You Sinners (Ruggles); Sons of the Legion (Hogan); Spawn of the North (Hathaway); Stolen Heaven (Stone); The Texans (Hogan); Thanks for the Memory (Archainbaud); Tip-Off Girls (L. King); Tom Sawyer, Detective (L. King); Touchdown Army (Neumann); Tropic Holiday (Reed); You and Me (F. Lang)

1939

All Women Have Secrets (Neumann); Arrest Bulldog Drummond (Hogan); Back Door to Heaven (Howard); The Beachcomber (Pommer); Beau Geste (Wellman); Boy Trouble (Archainbaud); Bulldog Drummond's Bride (Hogan); Café Society (E. Griffith); Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police (Hogan); The Cat and the Canary (Nugent); Death of a Champion (Florey); Disbarred (Florey); Disputed Passage (Borzage); Geronimo (Sloane); The Gracie Allen Murder Case (Green); Grand Jury Secrets (Hogan); The Great Victor Herbert (Stone); Heritage of the Desert (Selander); Honeymoon in Bali (E. Griffith); Hotel Imperial (Florey); Invitation to Happiness (Ruggles); Island of Lost Men (Neumann); I'm from Missouri (Reed); King of Chinatown (Grinde); The Lady's from Kentucky (Hall); Law of the Pampas (Watt); The Llano Kid (Venturini); The Magnificent Fraud (Florey); Man about Town (Sandrich); Man of Conquest (Nicholls) (co); Midnight (Leisen) (co); Million Dollar Legs (Grinde); Never Say Die (Nugent); The Night of Nights (Milestone); Night Work (Archainbaud); $1,000 a Touchdown (Hogan); Our Leading Citizen (Santell); Our Neighbors, the Carters (Murphy); Paris Honeymoon (Tuttle); Persons in Hiding (L. King); Range War (Selander); The Renegade Trail (Selander); Rulers of the Sea (Lloyd); Silver on the Sage (Selander); Some Like It Hot (Archainbaud); The Star Maker (Del Ruth); St. Louis Blues (Walsh); Sudden Money (Grinde); The Sunset Trail (Selander); Television Spy (Dmytryk); This Man Is News (McDonald); Undercover Doctor (L. King); Union Pacific (De Mille); Unmarried (Neumann); What a Life (Reed); Zaza (Cukor)

1940

Adventure in Diamonds (Fitzmaurice); Arise, My Love (Leisen) (co); The Biscuit Eater (Heisler); Buck Benny Rides Again (Sandrich); The Cherokee Strip (Selander); Christmas in July (P. Sturges); Comin' round the Mountain (Archainbaud); Dancing on a Dime (Santley); Doctor Cyclops (Schoedsack); Emergency Squad (Dmytryk); The Farmer's Daughter (Hogan); French without Tears (Asquith) (co); Golden Gloves (Dmytryk); The Ghost Breakers (Marshall); The Great McGinty (P. Sturges); Hidden Gold (Selander); I Want a Divorce (Murphy); Knights of the Range (Selander); Light of Western Stars (Selander); The Light That Failed (Wellman); Love Thy Neighbor (Sandrich); Moon over Burma (L. King); Mystery Sea Raider (Dmytryk); A Night at Earl Carroll's (Neumann); Northwest Mounted Police (De Mille) (co); Opened by Mistake (Archainbaud); A Parole Fixer (Florey); The Quarterback (Humberstone); Queen of the Mob (Hogan); Rangers of Fortune (Wood); Remember the Night (Leisen); Rhythm on the River (Schertzinger); Road to Singapore (Schertzinger); Safari (E. Griffith); Santa Fe Marshall (Selander); Seventeen (L. King); The Showdown (Bretherton); Stagecoach War (Selander); Texas Rangers Ride Again (Hogan); Those Were the Days (Reed); Three Men from Texas (Selander); Typhoon (L. King); Untamed (Archainbaud); Victory (Cromwell); The Way of All Flesh (L. King); Women without Names (Florey); World in Flames (Richard)

1941

Aloma of the South Seas (Santell); Among the Living (Heisler); Bahama Passage (E. Griffith); Ball of Fire (Hawks); Birth of the Blues (Schertzinger); Border Vigilantes (Abrahams); Buy Me That Town (Forde); Caught in the Draft (Butler); Doomed Caravan (Selander); Flying Blind (McDonald); Forced Landing (Wiles); Glamour Boy (Tetzlaff); Henry Aldrich for President (Bennett); Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Hall); Hold Back the Dawn (Leisen); I Wanted Wings (Leisen); In Old Colorado (Bretherton); Kiss the Boys Goodbye (Schertzinger); The Lady Eve (P. Sturges); Las Vegas Nights (Murphy); Life with Henry (Reed); The Mad Doctor (Whelan); The Monster and the Girl (Heisler); New York Town (C. Vidor); The Night of January 16th (Clemens); Nothing But the Truth (Nugent); One Night in Lisbon (E. Griffith); The Parson of Panamint (McGann); Pirates on Horseback (Selander); Power Dive (Hogan); Reaching for the Sun (Wellman); Road to Zanzibar (Schertzinger); Roundup (Selander); Secret of the Wastelands (Abrahams); Shepherd of the Hills (Hathaway); Skylark (Sandrich) (co); Sullivan's Travels (P. Sturges); Virginia (E. Griffith); There's a Magic in the Music (Stone); West Point Widow (Siodmak); Wide-Open Town (Selander); World Premiere (Tetzlaff); You Belong to Me (Ruggles); You're the One (Murphy)

1942

Are Husbands Necessary? (Taurog); Beyond the Blue Horizon (Santell); The Fleet's In (Schertzinger); The Gay Sisters (Rapper) (co); The Glass Key (Heisler); The Great Man's Lady (Wellman); Henry Aldrich, Editor (Bennett); Holiday Inn (Sandrich); I Married a Witch (Clair); The Lady Has Plans (Lanfield); Lucky Jordan (Tuttle); The Major and the Minor (Wilder); Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (Murphy); My Favorite Blonde (Lanfield); My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Siodmak); The Palm Beach Story (P. Sturges) (co); The Remarkable Andrew (Heisler); Road to Morocco (Butler); Star-Spangled Rhythm (Marshall); This Gun for Hire (Tuttle); Wake Island (Farrow); Young and Willing (E. Griffith)

1943

China (Farrow); The Crystal Bell (Nugent); Five Graves to Cairo (Wilder); Flesh and Fantasy (Duvivier) (co); For Whom the Bell Tolls (Wood); The Good Fellows (Graham); Happy Go Lucky (Bernhardt); Henry Aldrich Gets Glamour (Bennett); Hostages (Tuttle); Henry Aldrich Haunts a House (Bennett); Lady Bodyguard (Clemens); Lady of Burlesque (Wellman) (co); Let's Face It (Lanfield); Night Plane from Chungking (Murphy); No Time for Love (Leisen) (co); Riding High (Marshall); Salute for Three (Murphy); Tender Comrade (Dmytryk) (co); They Got Me Covered (Butler) (co); True to Life (Marshall)

1944

And Now Tomorrow (Pichel); And the Angels Sing (Binyon); Double Indemnity (Wilder); Going My Way (McCarey); The Great Moment (P. Sturges); Hail the Conquering Hero (P. Sturges); Henry Aldrich's Little Secret (Bennett); The Hitler Gang (Farrow); Here Come the Waves (Sandrich); The Hour before the Dawn (Tuttle); I Love a Soldier (Sandrich); I'll Be Seeing You (Dieterle); Lady in the Dark (Leisen) (co); The Man in Half Moon Street (Murphy); Ministry of Fear (F. Lang); The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (P. Sturges); National Barn Dance (Bennett); Rainbow Island (Murphy); Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (Allen); The Uninvited (Allen); Standing Room Only (Lanfield); Till We Meet Again (Borzage); You Can't Ration Love (Fuller)

1945

The Affairs of Susan (Seiter); The Bells of St. Mary's (McCarey); Bring on the Girls (Lanfield); Christmas in Connecticut (Godfrey) (co); Duffy's Tavern (Walker) (co); Hold That Blonde (Marshall); Incendiary Blonde (Marshall); The Lost Weekend (Wilder); Love Letters (Dieterle); Masquerade in Mexico (Leisen); A Medal for Benny (Pichel); Miss Susie Slagle's (Berry) (co); Murder He Says (Marshall); Out of This World (Walker); Road to Utopia (Walker); Salty O'Rourke (Walsh); The Stork Club (Walker); You Came Along (Farrow)

1946

The Blue Dahlia (Marshall); Blue Skies (Heisler) (co); The Bride Wore Boots (Pichel); Monsieur Beaucaire (Marshall); My Reputation (Bernhardt) (co); Notorious (Hitchcock); Our Hearts Were Growing Up (Russell); The Perfect Marriage (Allen); The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Milestone); To Each His Own (Leisen); The Virginian (Gilmore); The Well-Groomed Bride (Lanfield)

1947

Blaze of Noon (Farrow); Calcutta (Farrow); California (Farrow) (co); Cross My Heart (Berry); Cry Wolf (Godfrey) (co); Dear Ruth (Russell); Desert Fury (Allen); Easy Come, Easy Go (Farrow); I Walk Alone (Haskin); The Imperfect Wife (Allen) (co); My Favorite Brunette (Nugent); The Other Love (de Toth) (co); The Perils of Pauline (Marshall); Ramrod (de Toth); Road to Rio (McLeod); The Trouble with Women (Lanfield); The Two Mrs. Carrolls (Godfrey) (co); Variety Girl (Marshall) (co); Welcome Stranger (Nugent); Where There's Life (Lanfield); Wild Harvest (Garnett)

1948

The Accused (Dieterle); Arch of Triumph (Milestone) (co); Beyond Glory (Farrow); The Big Clock (Farrow); Dream Girl (Leisen); The Emperor Waltz (Wilder) (co); Enchantment (Reis) (co); A Foreign Affair (Wilder); Isn't It Romantic? (McLeod); June Bride (Windust) (co); Miss Tatlock's Millions (Haydn); My Own True Love (Bennett); The Night Has a Thousand Eyes (Farrow); Saigon (Fenton); Rachel and the Stranger (Foster); The Sainted Sisters (Russell); The Sealed Verdict (Allen); So Evil My Love (Allen) (co); Sorry, Wrong Number (Litvak); Whispering Smith (Fenton) (co)

1949

The Great Gatsby (Nugent); Beyond the Forest (K. Vidor); The Great Lover (Hall); The Heiress (Wyler) (co); Malaya (Thorpe) (co); Manhandled (Foster); My Foolish Heart (Robson) (co); My Friend Irma (Marshall); Red, Hot, and Blue (Farrow); Rope of Sand (Dieterle); Samson and Delilah (De Mille) (co); Song of Surrender (Leisen)

1950

All about Eve (Mankiewicz) (co); Copper Canyon (Farrow) (co); The Dark City (Dieterle); Fancy Pants (Marshall); The File on Thelma Jordan (Siodmak); The Furies (A. Mann); Let's Dance (McLeod); Mr. Music (Haydn); My Friend Irma Goes West (Walker); Paid in Full (Dieterle); No Man of Her Own (Leisen); Riding High (Capra); September Affair (Dieterle); Sunset Boulevard (Wilder)

1951

The Big Carnival (Wilder); Branded (Maté); Crosswinds (Foster); Darling, How Could You? (Leisen); Dear Brat (Seiter); Detective Story (Wyler); Here Comes the Groom (Capra); Hong Kong (Foster); The Last Outpost (Foster); The Lemon Drop Kid (Lanfield); My Favorite Spy (McLeod); Payment on Demand (Bernhardt) (co); Peking Express (Dieterle); A Place in the Sun (Stevens); Rhubarb (Lubin); Silver City (Haskin); The Stooge (Taurog); Submarine Command (Farrow); That's My Boy (Walker); When Worlds Collide (Maté)

1952

Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick (Binyon); Caribbean (Ludwig); Anything Can Happen (Seaton); Carrie (Wyler); Come Back, Little Sheba (Daniel Mann); Denver and Rio Grande (Haskin); The Greatest Show on Earth (De Mille) (co); Hurricane Smith (Hopper); Jumping Jacks (Taurog); Just for You (Nugent) (co); My Son John (McCarey); Red Mountain (Dieterle); Road to Bali (Walker); Ruby Gentry (K. Vidor); Sailor Beware (Walker); The Savage (Marshall); Somebody Loves Me (Brecher); Something to Live For (Stevens); Son of Paleface (Tashlin); This Is Dynamite (Dieterle); The Turning Point (Dieterle)


1953

Arrowhead (Warren); The Caddy (Taurog); Forever Female (Rapper); Here Come the Girls (Binyon); Houdini (Marshall); Jamaica Run (Foster); Little Boy Lost (Seaton); Off Limits (Marshall); Pleasure Island (Hugh); Pony Express (Hopper); Roman Holiday (Wyler); Sangaree (Ludwig); Scared Stiff (Marshall); Shane (Stevens); Stalag 17 (Wilder); The Stars Are Singing (Taurog); Those Redheads from Seattle (Foster); Thunder in the East (C. Vidor); Tropic Zone (Foster); The Vanquished (Ludwig); War of the Worlds (Haskin)

1954

About Mrs. Leslie (Daniel Mann); Alaska Seas (Hopper); The Bridges at Toko-ri (Robson); The Country Girl (Seaton); Elephant Walk (Dieterle); Jivaro (Ludwig); Knock on Wood (Panama and Frank); Living It Up (Taurog); Money from Home (Marshall); Mr. Casanova (McLeod); The Naked Jungle (Haskin); Rear Window (Hitchcock); Red Garters (Marshall) (co); Sabrina (Wilder); Secret of the Incas (Hopper); Three-Ring Circus (Pevney); White Christmas (Curtiz)

1955

Artist and Models (Tashlin); Conquest of Space (Haskin); The Desperate Hours (Wyler); The Far Horizon (Maté); The Girl Rush (Pirosh); Hell's Island (Karlson); Lucy Gallant (Parrish); The Rose Tattoo (Daniel Mann); Run for Cover (Ray); The Seven Little Foys (Shavelson); Strategic Air Command (A. Mann); To Catch a Thief (Hitchcock); The Trouble with Harry (Hitchcock); You're Never Too Young (Taurog)

1956

Anything Goes (Lewis); The Birds and the Bees (Taurog); The Come-On (Birdwell); The Court Jester (Panama and Frank) (co); Hollywood or Bust (Tashlin); The Leather Saint (Ganzer); The Man Who Knew Too Much (Hitchcock); The Mountain (Dmytryk); Pardners (Taurog); The Proud and the Profane (Seaton); The Rainmaker (Anthony); The Scarlet Hour (Curtiz); The Search for Bridey Murphy (Langley); The Ten Commandments (De Mille) (co); That Certain Feeling (Panama and Frank); Three Violent People (Maté)

1957

Beau James (Shavelson); The Buster Keaton Story (Sheldon); The Delicate Delinquent (McGuire); The Devil's Hairpin (Wilde); Fear Strikes Out (Mulligan); Funny Face (Donen) (co); Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (J. Sturges); Hear Me Good (McGuire); The Joker Is Wild (C. Vidor); The Lonely Man (Levin); Loving You (Kanter); The Sad Sack (Marshall); Short Cut to Hell (Cagney); The Tin Star (A. Mann); Wild Is the Wind (Cukor); Witness for the Prosecution (Wilder)

1958

As Young as You Are (Gerard); The Buccaneer (Quinn) (co); The Geisha Boy (Tashlin); Hot Spell (Daniel Mann); Houseboat (Shavelson); Maracaibo (Wilde); I Married a Monster from Outer Space (Fowler); King Creole (Curtiz); The Matchmaker (Anthony); Me and the Colonel (Glenville); The Party Crashers (Girard); Rock-a-Bye Baby (Tashlin); Separate Tables (Delbert Mann) (co); St. Louis Blues (Reisner); Teacher's Pet (Seton); Vertigo (Hitchcock)

1959

Alias Jesse James (McLeod); The Black Orchid (Ritt); But Not for Me (W. Lang); Career (Anthony); The Hangman (Curtiz); Don't Give Up the Ship (Taurog); The Five Pennies (Shavelson); A Hole in the Head (Capra); The Jayhawkers (Frank); Last Train from Gun Hill (J. Sturges); That Kind of Woman (Lumet); Too Young for Love (Girard); The Trap (Panama); The Young Captives (Kershner)

1960

The Bellboy (Lewis); A Breath of Scandal (Curtiz); Cinderfella (Tashlin); The Facts of Life (Frank) (co); G.I. Blues (Taurog); Heller in Pink Tights (Cukor); It Started in Naples (Shavelson); Pepe (Sidney); The Rat Race (Mulligan); A Touch of Larceny (Hamilton); Visit to a Small Planet (Taurog)

1961

All in a Night's Work (Anthony); Blue Hawaii (Taurog); Breakfast at Tiffany's (Edwards) (co); The Errand Boy (Lewis); The Ladies' Man (Lewis); Love in a Goldfish Bowl (Sher); Mantrap (O'Brien); On the Double (Shavelson); The Pleasure of His Company (Seaton); Pocketful of Miracles (Capra); Summer and Smoke (Glenville)

1962

The Counterfeit Traitor (Seaton); Escape from Zahrain (Neame); A Girl Named Tamiko (J. Sturges); Girls! Girls! Girls! (Taurog); Hatari! (Hawks); It's Only Money (Tashlin); The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford); My Geisha (Cardiff); The Pigeon That Took Rome (Shavelson); Too Late Blues (Cassavetes); Who's Got the Action? (Daniel Mann)

1963

The Birds (Hitchcock); Come Blow Your Horn (Yorkin); Critic's Choice (Weis); Donovan's Reef (Ford); Fun in Acapulco (Thorpe); Hud (Ritt); I Could Go On Singing (Neame); My Six Loves (Champion); Love with the Proper Stranger (Mulligan); A New Kind of Love (Shavelson) (co); The Nutty Professor (Lewis); Papa's Delicate Condition (Marshall); Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? (Daniel Mann); Who's Minding the Store? (Tashlin); Wives and Lovers (Rich)

1964

The Carpetbaggers (Dmytryk); The Disorderly Orderly (Tashlin); A House Is Not a Home (Rouse); Lady in a Cage (Grauman); Men's Favorite Sport? (Hawks); Marnie (Hitchcock); The Patsy (Lewis); Roustabout (Rich); Sex and the Single Girl (Quine) (co); Thirty-Six Hours (Seaton); What a Way to Go (Lee Thompson) (co); Where Love Has Gone (Dmytryk)

1965

Boeing, Boeing (Rich); The Family Jewels (Lewis); The Great Race (Edwards) (co); The Hallelujah Trail (J. Sturges); Harlow (Douglas) (co); Inside Daisy Clover (Mulligan) (co); John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (Lee Thompson) (co); Love Has Many Faces (Singer); Red Line 7000 (Hawks); The Slender Thread (Pollack); The Sons of Katie Elder (Hathaway); Sylvia (Douglas); Who Has Seen the Wind? (Sidney); The Yellow Rolls-Royce (Asquith) (co)

1966

Assault on a Queen (Donohue); The Last of the Secret Agents (Abbott); Nevada Smith (Hathaway); Not with My Wife, You Don't! (Panama); The Oscar (Rouse); Paradise, Hawaiian Style (Moore); Penelope (Hiller); The Swinger (Sidney); This Property Is Condemned (Pollack); Torn Curtain (Hitchcock); Waco (Springsteen)

1967

Barefoot in the Park (Saks); The Caper of the Golden Bulls (Rouse); Chuka (Douglas); Easy Come, Easy Go (Rich); Hotel (Quine) (co); Warning Shot (Kulik)

1968

In Enemy Country (Keller); Madigan (Siegel); The Pink Jungle (Delbert Mann); The Secret War of Harry Frigg (Smight); What's So Bad about Feeling Good? (Seaton)

1969

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Hill); Downhill Racer (Ritchie); Eye of the Cat (Rich); The Hellfighters (McLaglen); House of Cards (Guillermin); The Lost Man (Arthur); Sweet Charity (Fosse); Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (Polonsky); Topaz (Hitchcock); Winning (Goldstone)

1970

Airport (Seaton); Colossus: The Forbin Project (Sargent); Myra Breckinridge (Sarne) (co); Skullduggery (Douglas); Story of a Woman (Bercovici)

1971

Red Sky at Morning (Goldstone); Sometimes a Great Notion (Newman)

1972

Hammersmith Is Out (Ustinov); Pete 'n' Tillie (Ritt); The Screaming Woman (Smight)

1973

Ash Wednesday (Peerce); A Doll's House (Losey) (co); Divorce His, Divorce Hers (Hussein); The Sting (Hill); The Don Is Dead (Fleischer); The Showdown (Seaton); The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (Huston) (co)

1974

Airport '75 (Smight)

1975

The Great Waldo Pepper (Hill); Rooster Cogburn (Miller); The Man Who Would Be King (Huston)

1976

The Bluebird (Cukor); Family Plot (Hitchcock); Gable and Lombard (Furie); W. C. Fields and Me (Hiller); The Disappearance of Aimee (Harvey)

1977

Airport '77 (Hiller); Sex and the Married Woman (Arnold); Sunshine Christmas (Jordan)

1978

The Big Fix (Kagen); Olly Olly Oxen Free (Colla); Sextette (Hughes)

1979

The Last Married Couple in America (Cates)

1982

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (Reiner)



Publications


By HEAD: books—

With Jane Kesner Ardmore, The Dress Doctor , Boston, Massachusetts, 1959.

With Joe Hyams, How to Dress for Success , New York, 1967.

With Paddy Calistro, Edith Head's Hollywood , New York, 1983.


By HEAD: articles—

"A Costume Problem: From Shop to Stage to Screen," in Hollywood Quarterly , October 1946.

"Honesty in Today's Film Fashions," in Show (New York), 6 August 1970.

"Head on Fashion" series in Holiday (New York), January-February 1973; July-August 1973; September-October 1974; November-December 1974; January-February 1975; March 1975; September-October 1975; March 1976.

In Hollywood Speaks! An Oral History , by Mike Steen, New York, 1974.

Inter/View (New York), January 1974.

Films Illustrated (London), September 1974.

Take One (Montreal), October 1976.

American Film (Washington, D.C.), May 1978.

Ciné Revue (Paris), 19 April 1979.


On HEAD: books—

Cjetti, David Chier, Edith Head , New York, 2000.

On HEAD: articles—

Films in Review (New York), February 1972.

In Hollywood Costume Design , by David Chierichetti, New York, 1976.

In Costume Design in the Movies , by Elizabeth Leese, New York, 1976.

In In a Glamorous Fashion , by W. Robert LaVine, New York, 1980.

Films (New York), May 1981.

Obituary, in The Annual Obituary 1981 , New York, 1982.

The Velvet Light Trap (Madison, Wisconsin), no. 19, 1982.

Spoto, Donald, in Architectural Digest , vol. 49, April 1992.

Skrien (Amsterdam), October-November 1994.

Vanity Fair (New York), March 1998.


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For many people, Edith Head and film costume design are synonymous. Other designers may have been more flamboyantly creative, or more consistently original, but no one did more to earn this art form popular recognition. Her guiding principle was that costume should support, rather than compete with, story and character development. Better than most, perhaps, she understood that clothing is not merely a matter of adornment, but a potent method of communication working in tandem with film's sound and other visual elements. Her longevity, her productivity, her frequent touches of genius, and her talent for self-promotion secured her a celebrity status rare among Hollywood's legions of production artists. Moviegoers have long remained oblivious to the identities of those who work in the shadow of the stars, but they seem to have found a place in their consciousness for this tiny, austere-looking woman who wove illusions out of beads and cloth.

Unlike most of her peers, Head entered film costuming without relevant training or experience. When Howard Greer, Paramount's chief designer, hired her as a sketch artist in 1923, she was a high school teacher of French and art looking for a way to supplement her income. She learned quickly, however, honing her skills by observing the masters at work. From Greer, she learned the value of attention to detail. From Travis Banton, another outstanding member of Paramount's design team, she learned how to fabricate the highest standards of glamor and elegance.

In her early years at the studio, Head mainly dressed minor characters and animals, and generated wardrobes for the countless B-pictures then in production. Gradually she progressed to creating costumes for stars with whom the senior designers lacked the time or inclination to work. Among her first major assignments were Clara Bow, Lupe Velez, and Mae West. Head became Paramount's chief designer in 1938, when Banton, who replaced Greer as head designer in 1927, left to start a couture business. She remained at the studio for another three decades, working with most of Hollywood's major actresses and some of its best-known actors. When Paramount was sold in 1967, she became chief designer at Universal, where she worked until her death.

During her career, which spanned nearly six decades, Head's productivity achieved legendary proportions. In 1940 alone, she supervised costumes for 47 films. She is estimated to have contributed to more than 1,000 movies during her lifetime. In terms of formal recognition, her record is equally staggering. She received 34 Academy Award nominations, of which eight resulted in an Oscar. Costume design did not become an Academy Award category until 1948. For the first 19 years in which this honor was given, Head was nominated at least once every year. Had the award been introduced earlier, she would surely have earned additional nominations for such distinctive creations as Dorothy Lamour's sarongs in The Jungle Princess or Barbara Stanwyck's Latin-inspired garments for The Lady Eve .

Much of her best work was executed in the 1950s, when glamor and high-fashion were the keynotes of costume design. Among the enduring images her designs helped promote were Grace Kelly's refined allure in Rear Window and To Catch a Thief , Elizabeth Taylor's incandescent sensuality in A Place in the Sun , Audrey Hepburn's chic individuality in Sabrina , Bette Davis's mature sophistication in All about Eve , and Gloria Swanson's anachronistic glamor in Sunset Boulevard . This was also an era in which Head's public visibility reached its zenith. Already a fashion magazine editor, columnist, and regular contributor to Art Linkletter's radio show House Party , Head now made frequent television appearances, acted as consultant for the Academy Awards show, and published her first book. The diversity of her activities helped to extend her influence well beyond the realm of motion pictures.

Perhaps her greatest asset was her adaptability. Entering the business when limitless spending permitted designers broad artistic license, she later had to adjust to the restrictions imposed by wartime shortages of luxury textiles and the government's L-85 ruling on the amount of materials which could be used in clothing manufacture. Following the return to glamor and clothing-as-special-effects during the 1950s, Head made yet another successful transition when the 1960s ushered in a new emphasis on realism.

Head was also able to adjust to widely varying ideas about her role among the directors with whom she worked. Attitudes ranged from Alfred Hitchcock and George Roy Hill's close involvement in design, to the laissez-faire approach of Joseph Mankiewicz. Describing herself on one occasion as "a better politician than costume designer," Head was expert at handling star temperament, preferring to yield ground on a neckline or dress length than engage in a battle of wills. The conservative, neutral-colored suits she perennially wore symbolized her willingness to suppress her individuality in the interests of her craft. With the exception of a dispute over whether she or Givenchy deserved the credit for Audrey Hepburn's famous bowtied neckline in Sabrina , her career was unruffled by controversy.

Although she created a number of outstanding designs for period movies, most notably The Heiress and Samson and Delilah , she preferred to dress films with a contemporary theme, believing that they afforded more scope for originality. She also preferred to dress men rather than women, on the grounds that they were easier to deal with. One of her most effective wardrobes was the clothing worn by Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting , in which her subtle use of accessories, especially hats, was brilliantly executed. Her designs, on occasion, set fashion trends, but she did not deliberately set out to influence what the public wore. She placed far more importance on enabling stars to assume their characters' identities. She also believed it essential to create designs which would not cause a movie to date prematurely. This preference for a middle-of-the-road approach dates from 1947, when Dior's "New Look" exploded onto the fashion scene, making Head's streamlined designs seem instantly outmoded.

Head's excellence as a designer was augmented by her keen understanding of the technical constraints within which she operated. She was acutely aware of the different requirements created by variations in lighting, sound, and color. She also believed in close collaboration with her fellow production artists. Although she worked in an industry in which honors and public recognition are focused on individual achievement, Head truly was a team player. She may have enjoyed the celebrity status earned by her television appearances and writing, but when it came to practicing her craft, aligning her skills with the needs of directors, cinematographers, art directors, and others is what mattered most. It was her capacity for partnership that helped her become one of Hollywood's preeminent production artists.

—Fiona Valentine



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