Dorothy Jeakins

Dorothy Jeakins (January 11, 1914 – November 21, 1995) was an American costume designer.

Dorothy Jeakins
Born(1914-01-11)January 11, 1914
DiedNovember 21, 1995(1995-11-21) (aged 81)
Years active1948-1987
Spouse(s)Ray Dannenbaum (November 20, 1939-?)

Born in San Diego, California, she went to public school in Los Angeles from first grade through high school. When she was a senior at Fairfax High School, she was offered a scholarship to study at the Otis Art Institute (now known as Otis College of Art and Design).[1] She also attended the Art Students League of Los Angeles, under Stanton MacDonald-Wright.[2] She was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Otis College in 1987.[3]

Jeakins got her start working on WPA projects and as a Disney artist in the 1930s. Her fashion career began as a designer at I. Magnin's, where she was spotted by director Victor Fleming. Hired as a sketch artist for Joan of Arc (1948), Jeakins worked on the costumes along with Barbara Karinska and shared an Oscar with her in the color category. This was the first Oscar ever awarded for costumes, besides the black and white category.

Jeakins was unusual in that she freelanced, never signing a long-term contract with any one studio. She worked steadily for the next thirty-nine years, winning another two Oscars, for Samson and Delilah (1949, shared with Edith Head and others), and The Night of the Iguana (1964), and another 12 nominations. She designed period costumes for The Ten Commandments (1956), The Music Man (1962), The Sound of Music (1965), Little Big Man (1970), The Way We Were (1973), Young Frankenstein (1974) and The Dead (1987). Her modern-dress excursions included Niagara (1953), Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), South Pacific (1958) and On Golden Pond (1981).

Jeakins also worked on stage productions, including South Pacific (in which Motley was the principal costume designer), King Lear, Winesburg, Ohio and The World of Suzie Wong (for which she received her third Tony nomination), and such television productions as the 1957 production of Annie Get Your Gun, and Mayerling. For ten years beginning in 1953, she served as designer for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. In 1961 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study in Japan. She spent a year there, studying theater costume.[4][5] From 1967 to 1970, Ms. Jeakins was Curator of Costumes and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.[6] In 1987, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.[7] Jeakins, who retired in 1990, once summed up her designing: "I can put my world down to two words: Make beauty. It's my cue and my private passion."


Year Title Role Notes
1965 The Sound of Music Sister Augusta Uncredited
1966 Hawaii Hepzibah Hale (final film role)



  1. ^ "Oral history interview with Dorothy Jeakins, 1964 June 19".
  2. ^ Julia Armstrong-Totten, "The Legacy of the Art Student League," in Julia Armstrong-Totten, et al., A Seed of Modernism: The Art Students League of Los Angeles, 1906–1953, exhibition catalogue, Pasadena Museum of California Art. 2008.
  3. ^ "Commencement Speakers and/or Honorary Degrees" (PDF). Otis College of Art and Design. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  4. ^ Oliver, Myrna (November 28, 1995). "Dorothy Jeakins; First Oscar Winner for Costume Design". Tribune Publishing. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  5. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellows". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  6. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (November 30, 1995). "Dorothy Jeakins Dies at 81; Designed Costumes for Films". New York Times Company. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-20. Retrieved 2011-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit