Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Broadway Honours Oscar Winning Global Greek Theoni Aldredge: 19xx - 2011

 Theoni Vachliotis Aldredge
Source: Costume Designers Guild

Broadway theaters will turn off their lights for one minute this evening to honour one of our Global Greeks, legendary costume designer Theoni Aldredge, who died last Friday in Connecticut in the USA.

A fitting tribute to one of Greece's most talented daughters of the diaspora!

Born in Thessaloniki, Theoni Athanasiou Vachliotis studied at the American College of Greece in Athens and went to the USA to study at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. 

Her Broadway career began when fellow Global Greek Elia Kazan, prompted by actress Geraldine Page,  asked her to design the costumes for his stage production of Tenessee Williams’ Sweet Bird of Youth in 1959.

“I made three outfits for Gerry — a negligee, a robe and a beaded navy blue evening dress with a lighter front because a bird’s stomach is always lighter than its back,” she told Architectural Digest in 1993. “So there you had Tennessee Williams writing, Geraldine Page and Paul Newman acting, and I thought, ‘Where do I go from here?’ ” (Source: NYT Obit)

Our answer to that is simple: Up, in fact right up, to the very top!
For more than fifty years she was a favourite of top producers on and off Broadway,  designing fabulous costumes for more than 80 productions, and winning three Tony Awards in this category, namely for Annie, La Cage aux Folles and Barnum.

Theoni Aldredge's remarkable career in costume design, either as herself or under the name of Denny Vachliotis, her alter-ego,  included a wide range of films for Hollywood, with  The Great Gatsby topping the list, the film which gave her the Best Costume Design  Academy Award in  1974 for her stunning creations, and ensured a lifetime spot for her on the Academy.

Her talent also ensured a place in the Theatre Hall of Fame for her in 1986, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976. 

Other memorable films with Aldredge costumes are Moonstruck with Cher and Nicholas Cage, Other Peoples' Money, The First Wives Club, Three days of the Condor, Network, The Rose, Ghostbusters and many others.

Theoni Aldredge was cremated. Her family will be bringing her ashes to Greece, the land of her birth, to be placed in her final resting place at Athens' First Cemetery.

Kalo Taxidi, Theoni...

Αιωνία σου η μνήμη...

To read more about Theoni Aldredge/Denny Vachliotis

Oh and by the way, we don't mention her age...we'll leave that to others... It is never polite to mention a lady's age and certainly not a Greek lady's, especially when nobody seems to have got it right! She would probably be most upset with her New York Times Obituary though, they aged her by a decade...unless they know something we don't! 

Sources: Ta Nea, Greek News Agenda, NYT Obit, Wikipedia

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