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Theadora Van Runkle

Theadora Van Runkle

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Also Known As: Thea Van Runkle, Dorothy Schweppe, Thea Van Runkle Died: November 4, 2011
Born: March 27, 1928 Cause of Death: Lung Cancer
Birth Place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: costume designer, fashion illustrator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Prolific costume designer Theadora Van Runkle entered the movie business at the tail end of Hollywood's influence on fashion. Through her ingenuity and vision, the costumer made a name for herself in the business, becoming known for her consistent competence and remarkable take on the style of the recent past, with her work on films set in early to mid 20th Century America emerging as particularly strong examples. With the advent of the supermodel and the increased visibility of designers, the general public has become more aware of the fashion industry. In previous years, Hollywood films served as the major influence on fashion, Marlene Dietrich's trousers, Joan Crawford's shoulder pads, Rita Hayworth's strapless dresses and Elizabeth Taylor's gown in "A Place in the Sun" are all examples of how movie designs introduced new looks and set popular style parameters in previous decades. Van Runkle grew up in this fashion atmosphere and started in Hollywood when the trend was on the wane, but with her film debut "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), the designer managed to revive the influence of movie fashion. She outfitted Faye Dunaway in remarkable 1930s period costumes with a decidedly modern flavor that...

Prolific costume designer Theadora Van Runkle entered the movie business at the tail end of Hollywood's influence on fashion. Through her ingenuity and vision, the costumer made a name for herself in the business, becoming known for her consistent competence and remarkable take on the style of the recent past, with her work on films set in early to mid 20th Century America emerging as particularly strong examples. With the advent of the supermodel and the increased visibility of designers, the general public has become more aware of the fashion industry. In previous years, Hollywood films served as the major influence on fashion, Marlene Dietrich's trousers, Joan Crawford's shoulder pads, Rita Hayworth's strapless dresses and Elizabeth Taylor's gown in "A Place in the Sun" are all examples of how movie designs introduced new looks and set popular style parameters in previous decades. Van Runkle grew up in this fashion atmosphere and started in Hollywood when the trend was on the wane, but with her film debut "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), the designer managed to revive the influence of movie fashion. She outfitted Faye Dunaway in remarkable 1930s period costumes with a decidedly modern flavor that appealed to contemporary women, a look that gained international popularity. Van Runkle's designs for Bonnie consisted of loose fitting suits with unstructured soft lines, sleek maxi skirts and smart berets that added up to a look marrying classic sophistication to modern comfort and ease. The designer was nominated for an Academy Award for her work, and "Bonnie and Clyde" would remain the most significant example of film influencing fashion in later years.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Beverly Hills; married at age 16; worked as fashion illustrator for seven years in Los Angeles from age 19
:
Began calling herself Theadora in her early 20s
:
Became a sketch artist for Dorothy Jeakins; worked for only a month
1967:
Film debut as costume designer, "Bonnie and Clyde"; earned first Academy Award nomination; hired for job when Jeakins turned it down and recommended her
1968:
Outfitted the flamboyant hippies of "I Love You, Alice B.Toklas"
1968:
Helped to define Steve McQueen's appealing no-frills masculinity with designs for "Bullitt" and "The Thomas Crown Affair"; the latter also marked a reunion with star Faye Dunaway
1970:
Along with legendary Hollywood designer Edith Head, contributed costumes to the X-rated comedy "Myra Breckinridge"
1974:
Created the costumes for the musical "Mame," starring Lucille Ball
1974:
Received Oscar nomination for her period designs in "The Godfather, Part II"
1977:
Designed big band era costumes for Martin Scorsese's "New York, New York"
1982:
Was costume designer for the flashy film adaptation of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas"
1986:
Nominated for an Academy Award for "Peggy Sue Got Married"
1989:
Designed the elaborate over-the-top fashions for "Troop Beverly Hills"
1990:
Illustrated time span and economic divergence with costumes for the remake of "Stella," starring Bette Midler
1991:
Created Demi Moore's sexy ethereal wardrobe in "The Butcher's Wife"
1998:
Designed costumes for the releases "I'm Losing You" and "Goodbye Lover"
1999:
Received final film credit, designing costumes for the Paul Sorvino directed sports drama "That Championship Season"
2002:
Received the Costume Designer Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award
2004:
Featured in the PBS documentary "Masters of Production: The Hidden Art of Hollywood"
2008:
Appeared in the behind-the-scenes documentary "Revolution! The Making of 'Bonnie and Clyde'"
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Education

Chouinard Art Institute: Pasadena , California -

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Felicite G Van Runkle. Born in February 1954.
son:
Peter E Van Runkle. Born in August 1958.

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