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Wednesday, November 9, 2011
The costume industry is now saying its final farewell to Hollywood costume designer Theadora Van Runkle who passed away last week at the age of 83. Theadora enjoyed a four decade career in the Hollywood costuming industry and worked in the wardrobe departments of several award winning films across a wide variety of genres.
Throughout the course of her career Van Runkle won several awards of her own including an Emmy award and a Lifetime achievement award from the Costume Designer Guild which was recently given, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The talented designer also received three Oscar nominations.
Theadora was born on March 27th 1928 and made her way to Hollywood at a very young age with the determination to make a life and a career for herself there. She attended the Chouinard Institute in Los Angeles and then worked for seven years in the late 50s and 60s for May Co. as an illustrator, primarily creating fashion ads for the company. It wasn’t until after she met costume designer Dorothy Jeakins at a party that she started on her path to becoming a costume  designer. Theadora began sketching for Dorothy Jeakins, working on the movie Hawaii with her.
Eventually Jeakins recommended Theadora for a film that she choose not to take on herself. The film turned out to be the classic that put Theadora in the spotlight. Although she had never designed a costume from beginning to end before, she went on to design the Bonnie and Clyde costumes that are still famous today.
Other features Theadora Van Runkle worked on throughout her career include Troop Beverly Hills, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Godfather III, Peggy Sue got Married, and The Jerk among many others. She passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles last Friday and is survived by her son Max, her daughter Felicity, and her grandson Teo.