Two-time Academy Award recipient for best costume design, John Mollo, passed away on October 25th at the age of 86 from complications of vascular dementia. John was known for some of cinemas most iconic costumes, including those for Star Wars, Alien, Empire Strikes Back, and Ghandi. He received his Oscars in 1978 for Star Wars, and 1983 for Gandhi.
Beginning in 1968 with The Charge of the Light Brigade, John specialized in acting as a military advisor for more than a half dozen films. It was while working on Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon that he wound up spending a Christmas holiday speaking with George Lucas about his yet-untitled science fiction film. His experience in military uniforms helped him land the role of costume designer and changing the course of his career.
His most recent design work had been on the Horatio Hornblower series of television films from 1998 until 2003.
John was always very humble about his contributions to costuming. His acceptance speech at the ’78 Academy Awards was:
As you see, the costumes from “Star Wars” are really not so much costumes as a bit of plumbing and general automobile engineering. Anyway, my thanks to George and Gary, and particularly to the wardrobe department, especially Ron Beck. And to all of you for giving me this very happy tribute. Thank you very much.
He might have thought it all a bit of plumbing, but his designs are recognizable worldwide, 40 years later. John also wrote and contributed to a number of books on military uniforms, primarily focusing on 18th and early-19th century.
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