VIDEO: On This Day, January 21- Remembering Tony Winning Costume Designer Theoni V. Aldredge
On this day, we salute the life and art of Theoni V. Aldredge, the costume designer of the original stage version of "La Cage aux Folles" and "Annie" on Broadway who passed away on this day in 2011.
Considered one of the greatest costume designers of her era, Ms. Aldredge created the clothing for more than 300 stage and film productions, including "Gypsy," "A Chorus Line," "Dreamgirls" and "42nd Street." She won an Oscar in 1975 for "The Great Gatsby" with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and three Tony awards for "Barnum," "Annie" and "La Cage." In 1984, five shows running at the same time (including "La Cage") put 1,000 of her creations on stage at once.
"She made people look beautiful, which is a lot harder than you might think," said the costume designer Martin Pakledinaz. "She also had the ability to see a production as a whole, the way one number grew out of the previous number and led into the one after that."
Theoni Athanasiou Vachliotis was born on Aug. 22, 1922, in Salonika, Greece, and grew up in Athens. When she graduated from the American School in Athens in 1949, she had decided on theater as a career.
She enrolled at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago and, on her way, stopped in New York to attend a showing of the 1946 film "Caesar and Cleopatra." "A strange thing happened," she told The New Yorker in 1973. "I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the flowing garments worn by Vivien Leigh."
She added: "'People can look so beautiful in clothes,' I said to myself. 'There is a mystery to costume.' And that's when it started."