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Also Known As: Jean Louis Berthault Died: April 20, 1997
Born: October 5, 1907 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Paris, FR Profession: costume designer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An Academy Award nominee 14 times, Jean Louis was one of the greatest motion picture costume designers of all time, and had few equals when it came to creating gowns for the top female stars. His renown was so great that many say he defined glamour through the movies; and many of his top works, such as the "Put the Blame on Mame" gown for Rita Hayworth in "Gilda" (1946) -- which has been copied by every designer since -- and Marilyn Monroe's gown when she sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to JFK in 1962, and the flesh-colored gown Marlene Dietrich was sewn into for her Las Vegas stage debut in 1953, have become legend. Many don't recall the scripts of Loretta Young's 1950s anthology series, but few who saw the show have forgotten the 52 Jean Louis gowns she wore when she swept into the room to introduce each week's show. Jean Louis (ne Berthault) was born in France and emigrated to the U.S. in 1936 to become a chief designer for the famed Hattie Carnegie house. He began designing clothes for clients such as the Duchess of Windsor, and Hollywood stars Merle Oberon and Irene Dunne. It was Dunne who brought him another client, Joan Cohn, wife of Columbia studio head Harry Cohn. Through Mrs. Cohn's...

An Academy Award nominee 14 times, Jean Louis was one of the greatest motion picture costume designers of all time, and had few equals when it came to creating gowns for the top female stars. His renown was so great that many say he defined glamour through the movies; and many of his top works, such as the "Put the Blame on Mame" gown for Rita Hayworth in "Gilda" (1946) -- which has been copied by every designer since -- and Marilyn Monroe's gown when she sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to JFK in 1962, and the flesh-colored gown Marlene Dietrich was sewn into for her Las Vegas stage debut in 1953, have become legend. Many don't recall the scripts of Loretta Young's 1950s anthology series, but few who saw the show have forgotten the 52 Jean Louis gowns she wore when she swept into the room to introduce each week's show. Jean Louis (ne Berthault) was born in France and emigrated to the U.S. in 1936 to become a chief designer for the famed Hattie Carnegie house. He began designing clothes for clients such as the Duchess of Windsor, and Hollywood stars Merle Oberon and Irene Dunne. It was Dunne who brought him another client, Joan Cohn, wife of Columbia studio head Harry Cohn. Through Mrs. Cohn's influence, Jean Louis was lured west in 1943 to become chief designer for Columbia. His first work could be seen in 1944 in such films as "Strange Cargo" and "Together Again". But after "Gilda" everyone began to take notice. Jean Louis designed Judy Holliday's gowns for "Born Yesterday" (1951), and won his only Academy Award for gowning her in "The Solid Gold Cadillac" (1956). He was the first designer to earn the screen credit "Gowns By..." Other films with his touch include Judy Garland's "A Star Is Born" (1954), "From Here to Eternity" (1953), "Pillow Talk" (1959), and his last, "Forty Carats" (1973). So extensive was Louis' dominance that his 14 Academy Award nominations included multiples in a single year -- for both black and white and color films. Whether it was Lana Turner's clinging sweaters, or Doris Day's sexy wardrobe for "Pillow Talk," his work will not be forgotten. After working for Universal in the early 60s, Jean Louis left full-time studio work. Although he would continue to freelance for pictures, he devoted most of his time to his salon in Beverly Hills, where clients included Nancy Reagan. He later retired to Palm Springs in 1988. In 1993, six years after the death of his first wife, Louis married former client Loretta Young.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Virgin Named Mary, A (1975) Luca
2.
 Man Of The East (1971)
3.
 House of Cards (1969) Driot
5.
 Supermodel of the World (1987) Judge
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1936:
Moved to USA from France
1936:
Was lead designer for Hattie Carnegie in New York
1943:
Named chief designer at Columbia Pictures
1946:
Designed the famous strapless gown worn by Rita Hayworth in "Gilda"
1953:
Designed Marlene Dietrich's famous flesh-colored gown for her Las Vegas debut
:
Designed more than 50 gowns to be worn by Loretta Young on "The Loretta Young Show"; married Young in 1993
1962:
Designed the dress Marilyn Monroe wore at Madison Square Garden to serenade President Kennedy on his birthday
:
In Early 1960s, left motion picture work and opened his own salon; clients included Nancy Reagan and the Duchess of Windsor
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Notes

"He loved each one of us. He saw us as perfect the way God made us." --Carol Channing, clothed by Jean Louis for "Thoroughly Modern Millie"

"Jean felt it was important to see the woman, not the dress." --Loretta Young

Louis donated his 1956 Oscar to a French museum.

For many years the secret of how Rita Hayworth's "Gilda" gown remained in place even when she lifted her arms was a mystery. Louis revealed the secret to People magazine in 1987: plastic molding inside the top.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Maggy Berthault. Died in 1987.
wife:
Loretta Young. Actor. Married August 10, 1993; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Louis Berthault.
mother:
Mathilde Berthault.
brother:
Adrian Berthault. Older; survived him.

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