Bob Mackie

Costume Designer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Bob Mackie recounts his earliest experiences in Hollywood working for respected designers Edith Head and Jean Louis. He discusses working with Ray Aghayan on The Judy Garland Show and recalls the notable television specials with which he was involved, including Brigadoon, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Carousel and Kismet. Mackie details his eleven-year tenure on The Carol Burnett Show and explains the weekly requirements for designing costumes for the complex ensemble show. He speaks fondly of designing costumes for Burnett's most memorable characters: southern belle Starlett O'Hara from "Went With the Wind," dim-bulb secretary Mrs. Wiggins, shrill Eunice Harper Higgens and fading legend Nora Desmond. Mackie describes his successful collaboration with Cher, beginning on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and continuing with Cher, The Sonny and Cher Show and her various television, concert and public appearances (including her well-known Academy Award outfits). He also comments on his designs for Donny and Marie, The Diahann Carroll Show and such feature films as "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Funny Lady." He speaks about his most recent work, including a line of collectible dolls for Mattel's Barbie, more television collaborations with Carol Burnett and television specials including Gypsy and Mrs. Santa Claus. Finally, he reminisces about designing for such performers as Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, Carol Channing, Elton John, Dinah Shore, Ann-Margret, Mitzi Gaynor and Lucille Ball.  Jennifer Howard conducted the interview on June 29, 2000 in North Hollywood, CA.

"They'll probably say 'he's the guy that did the curtain rod and the belly-button dresses.' What are you going to do? When you hit that many people all at once, they'll remember that."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett "Went With the Wind," a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on dressing Cher and her outrageous outfits
Bob Mackie on assisting with costume design on The Judy Garland Show
Bob Mackie on designing for Barbie
Bob Mackie on fabrics for television and the challenges of black and white
Bob Mackie on his design style
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his love of movies and Technicolor; on his designs in college and his first professional job at Paramount
On assisting Ray Aghayan on The Judy Garland Show; On working with Edith Head and Judy Garland
On television specials for Danny Thomas and Jimmy Durante; on Alice Through the Looking Glass

Chapter 2

On creating costumes for Alice Through the Looking Glass; on the 1960's fashions
On costume design for The Carol Burnett Show; on designing for film and Broadway; on designing for black and white television; on accommodating for star's pregnancy
On his inspiration for designs; on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett in a spoof of Gone With the Wind on her show

Chapter 3

On working within constraints of a budget; on dealing with censorship of designs; On the cast and fashions of The Carol Burnett Show
On memorable characters and skits on The Carol Burnett Show - "Mrs. Wiggins," "Eunice," "Mama Harper," "Nora Desmond," and "Zelda" 

Chapter 4

On "Charwoman" and his favorite costumes of The Carol Burnett Show; on Carol & Company; on television specials with Fred Astaire and Diana Ross
On working on The Carol Burnett Show and The Sonny and Cher Show at the same time; On working with Cher

Chapter 5

On costume design for Marie Osmond of Donny & Marie; on The Diahann Carroll Show; on his book Dressing for Glamour
On movies for which he did costumes - Lady Sings the Blues, Funny Lady, Pennies from Heaven, Staying Alive and Brenda Starr; on opening Bob Mackie Originals; on Mama's Family
On designing clothing for the Red Carpet and designing production numbers for The Academy Awards; on designing for Barbie; On Gypsy and Tales From the City

Chapter 6

On some of the writers on the Sonny and Cher Show; on Mrs. Santa Claus; on working on a ballet done to Elvis music - Blue Suede Shoes, Ballet Rocks; on collaborating with Bette Midler
On his thoughts on people with whom he's worked; on successful collaborations
On his current projects; on his design style; on advice to aspiring costume designers

Chapter 7

On the state of costume design for television today; on believing MTV is the most visually interesting thing on TV; on career highlights
On his regrets - never learning stage design; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Bob Mackie on designing clothing for the Red Carpet and designing production numbers for The Academy Awards

Alice Through the Looking Glass

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Bob Mackie on working with producer Alan Handley on Alice Through the Looking Glass - first show to win an Emmy for costume design
Bob Mackie on creating costumes for Alice Through The Looking Glass

Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City

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Bob Mackie on acting in Armistead Maupin's Tales of The City

Brigadoon

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Bob Mackie on costume design for Brigadoon and musical comedies

Carol & Company

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Bob Mackie on Carol & Company and reunion shows

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78)

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Bob Mackie on creating costumes for The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett in "Went With the Wind," a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on Carol Burnett's quick costume changes
Bob Mackie on costume design for The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on Carol Burnett's signature roles on The Carol Burnett Show

Carol Burnett Show, The (1967-78): "Went with the Wind!" Sketch

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Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett in "Went With the Wind," a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on The Carol Burnett Show

Carol Burnett Show, The (1991)

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Bob Mackie on designing clothing for Carol Burnett's later shows

Cher

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Bob Mackie on working with Cher on Cher

Diahann Carroll Show, The

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Bob Mackie on costume design for The Diahann Carroll Show

Donny & Marie

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Bob Mackie on costume design for Marie Osmond of Donny & Marie

Fred Astaire Show, The

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Bob Mackie on The Fred Astaire Show

Frosty Frolics

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Bob Mackie on loving local KTLA show Frosty Frolics when he was young

Gypsy

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Bob Mackie on designing clothing for Gypsy with Bette Midler

Judy Garland Show, The

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Bob Mackie on assisting Ray Aghayan on The Judy Garland Show
Bob Mackie on Judy Garland and The Judy Garland Show

King Family, The

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Bob Mackie on creating costumes for The King Family

Mama's Family

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Bob Mackie on getting credit for the original look for Mama's Family

Mitzi Gaynor Specials

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Bob Mackie on censorship of designs when designing for Mitzi Gaynor

Once Upon a Mattress

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Bob Mackie on the Once Upon a Mattress Special with Carol Burnett

Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

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Bob Mackie on working with Cher on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
Bob Mackie on some of the writers on the Sonny and Cher Show
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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Bob Mackie on censorship of designs

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Bob Mackie on finding inspiration for costume designing on television
Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett "Went With the Wind," a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on The Carol Burnett Show

Emmy Awards

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Bob Mackie on working with producer Alan Handley on Alice Through the Looking Glass - first show to win an Emmy for costume design
Bob Mackie on winning an Emmy for Alice Through The Looking Glass

Memorable Moments on Television

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Bob Mackie on designing the Queen Elizabeth gown for Whoopi Goldberg for the 1999 Academy Awards

We Laughed

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Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett "Went With the Wind," a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on The Carol Burnett Show
Professions

Costume Designer

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Bob Mackie on wanting to be a costume designer
Bob Mackie on the craft of costume design for television
Bob Mackie on finding inspiration for costume designing on television
Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett in a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on her show
Bob Mackie on his design style
Bob Mackie on advice to aspiring costume designers
Bob Mackie on costume design today

Designers

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Bob Mackie on wanting to be a costume designer
Bob Mackie on his design style
Bob Mackie on advice to aspiring costume designers

Production Designer

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Bob Mackie on production design for The Academy Awards
Genres

Awards Shows

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Bob Mackie on designing clothing for the Red Carpet and designing production numbers for The Academy Awards

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Bob Mackie on Judy Garland and The Judy Garland Show
Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett "Went With the Wind," a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on costume design for The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on working with Cher on Cher and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
People

Ray Aghayan

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Bob Mackie on assisting Ray Aghayan on The Judy Garland Show
Bob Mackie on Ray Aghayan and Judy Garland
Bob Mackie on working with Ray Aghayan
Bob Mackie on working with Ray Aghayan
Bob Mackie on costume design for producer Ray Aghayan's The Diahann Carroll Show
Bob Mackie on Ray Aghayan asking him to do the Queen Elizabeth gown for the 1999 Academy Awards

Julie Andrews

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Bob Mackie on working with Julie Andrews

Fred Astaire

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Bob Mackie on The Fred Astaire Show

Lucille Ball

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Bob Mackie on working with Lucille Ball

Ken Berry

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Bob Mackie on the Once Upon a Mattress Special with Carol Burnett

Sonny Bono

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Bob Mackie on working with Cher on Cher and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour

Carol Burnett

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Bob Mackie on designing for Carol Burnett for The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on Carol Burnett's quick costume changes
Bob Mackie on designing for pregnancy and weight gain and Carol Burnett not telling him she was pregnant
Bob Mackie on the famous curtain-rod dress he made for Carol Burnett "Went With the Wind," a spoof of "Gone With the Wind" on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on Carol Burnett on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on producer Joe Hamilton taping his wife, Carol Burnett, talking to the at-home audience on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on Carol Burnett's signature roles
Bob Mackie on the Once Upon a Mattress Special with Carol Burnett
Bob Mackie on designing clothing for Carol Burnett's later shows
Bob Mackie on the chemistry of Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett

Diahann Carroll

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Bob Mackie on costume design for The Diahann Carroll Show

Carol Channing

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Bob Mackie on working with Carol Channing

Cyd Charisse

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Bob Mackie on working with Cyd Charisse

Cher

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Bob Mackie on designing for Sonny and Cher
Bob Mackie on designing for pregnancy and weight gain for Cher
Bob Mackie on censorship of designs when designing for Cher
Bob Mackie on working with Cher on Cher and The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
Bob Mackie on dressing Cher for The Academy Awards

Tim Conway

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Bob Mackie on Tim Conway of The Carol Burnett Show

Jimmy Durante

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Bob Mackie on designing for Danny Thomas and Jimmy Durante television specials

Jerry Van Dyke

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Bob Mackie on Jerry Van Dyke of The Judy Garland Show

Dick Van Dyke

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Bob Mackie on Dick Van Dyke of The Carol Burnett Show

Nanette Fabray

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Bob Mackie on working with Nanette Fabray

Judy Garland

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Bob Mackie on assisting with costume design on The Judy Garland Show
Bob Mackie on working with Judy Garland
Bob Mackie on designing for Judy Garland for black and white television

Mitzi Gaynor

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Bob Mackie on censorship of designs when designing for Mitzi Gaynor
Bob Mackie on collaborating with Mitzi Gaynor

Whoopi Goldberg

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Bob Mackie on designing the Queen Elizabeth gown for Whoopi Goldberg for the 1999 Academy Awards

Robert Goulet

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Bob Mackie on Robert Goulet in Brigadoon

Joe Hamilton

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Bob Mackie on producer Joe Hamilton taping his wife, Carol Burnett, talking to the at-home audience on The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on getting credit for the original look for Mama's Family

Alan Handley

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Bob Mackie on working with producer Alan Handley on Alice Through the Looking Glass

Goldie Hawn

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Bob Mackie on Cher wanting an outfit similar to one he had done for Goldie Hawn
Bob Mackie on working with Goldie Hawn

Edith Head

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Bob Mackie on working with costume designer Edith Head at Paramount
Bob Mackie on working with Edith Head and what he learned from her

Elton John

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Bob Mackie on working with Elton John

Shirley Jones

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Bob Mackie on designing for pregnancy and weight gain for Shirley Jones

John F. Kennedy

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Bob Mackie on sketching the dress that Marilyn Monroe wore to sing "Happy Birthday" to JFK
Bob Mackie on Judy Garland's response to JFK's death

Harvey Korman

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Bob Mackie on Harvey Korman of The Carol Burnett Show

Angela Lansbury

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Bob Mackie on a television special Mrs. Santa Claus with Angela Lansbury

Vicki Lawrence

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Bob Mackie on designing for pregnancy and weight gain for Vicki Lawrence
Bob Mackie on Vicki Lawrence of The Carol Burnett Show
Bob Mackie on "Mama Harper" on The Carol Burnett Show

Steve Martin

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Bob Mackie on costume design for Pennies from Heaven

Bette Midler

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Bob Mackie on designing clothing for Gypsy with Bette Midler
Bob Mackie on working with Bette Midler

Liza Minnelli

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Bob Mackie on working with Liza Minnelli

Marilyn Monroe

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Bob Mackie on sketching the dress that Marilyn Monroe wore to sing "Happy Birthday" to JFK

Marie Osmond

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Bob Mackie on costume design for Marie Osmond of Donny & Marie

Bernadette Peters

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Bob Mackie on working with Bernadette Peters

Debbie Reynolds

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Bob Mackie on working with Debbie Reynolds

Diana Ross

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Bob Mackie on a television special with Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations, produced by George Schlatter

George Schlatter

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Bob Mackie on a television special with Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations, produced by George Schlatter

Dinah Shore

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Bob Mackie on working with Dinah Shore

Beverly Sills

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Bob Mackie on working with Beverly Sills

Barbra Streisand

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Bob Mackie on Barbra Streisand appearing on The Judy Garland Show
Bob Mackie on costume design for Funny Lady

Danny Thomas

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Bob Mackie on designing for Danny Thomas and Jimmy Durante television specials

Tina Turner

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Bob Mackie on working with Tina Turner

Ret Turner

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Bob Mackie on costume design with Rhett Turner for Donny & Marie
Bob Mackie on getting credit for the original look for Mama's Family

Bruce Vilanch

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Bob Mackie on Ray Aghayan asking him to do the Queen Elizabeth gown for the 1999 Academy Awards

Lyle Waggoner

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Bob Mackie on Lyle Waggoner of The Carol Burnett Show

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