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Bob Mackie

Bob Mackie
Born Robert Gordon Mackie
(1940-03-24) March 24, 1940
Monterey Park, California
Occupation Fashion designer
Partner(s) Ray Aghayan
(1963-2011 his death)
Robert Gordon "Bob" Mackie

(born March 24, 1940)[1][2] is an American fashion designer, best known for his dressing of entertainment icons such as Carol Burnett, Cher, RuPaul, Barbara Eden, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, Joan Rivers and Mitzi Gaynor. He was the costume designer for Carol Burnett on The Carol Burnett Show during its entire 11-year run and designed the costumes for its spinoff, Mama's Family, and for the 1993 television adaptation of Gypsy.


  • Professional career 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Notable Mackie clothing wearers 3
  • Cultural References 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Professional career

The Curtain Dress, worn by Carol Burnett on The Carol Burnett Show parody of Gone With The Wind.

Mackie began his career as a sketch artist for legendary French haute couturier, Jean Louis, who is, perhaps, best known for crafting stage gowns worn by screen legend Marlene Dietrich during her career as a cabaret singer. Mackie and future life partner Ray Aghayan worked with legendary costumer Edith Head in 1961 while working as a novice designer at Paramount Studios. In 1969, Mackie was hired to design costumes for Diana Ross, The Supremes, and The Temptations' second television special, "GIT:On Broadway". In 1972, he and Aghayan were nominated for Best Costume Design for "Lady Sings The Blues", starring Diana Ross. Mackie and Ross continued their collaborative efforts well into the 21st Century, with Mackie designing stage costumes for Ross' 2010 "More Today Than Yesterday" tour. Mackie designed costumes for the Las Vegas Strip-based burlesque shows, Hallelujah Hollywood, which was inspired by the Ziegfeld Follies and ran at the MGM Grand (now Bally's Las Vegas) from 1974 to 1980, and Jubilee!, which has been running since 1981.[3][4] Both productions involve intricate, elaborate costumes and grandiose sets. Images of many of Mackie’s design drawings for these productions are available in the Showgirls collection from UNLV Libraries Digital Collections.

Two of Mackie's best-remembered creations had a humorous aspect. While working on The Carol Burnett Show, he designed a "curtain dress" (complete with a curtain rod across the shoulders) that Carol Burnett wore in the Gone with the Wind parody: Went with the Wind!. Mackie also designed the exotic ensemble worn by Cher at the March 1986 Academy Awards: black stretch pants, a bejeweled loincloth, knee high boots, a black chainlink top, and a huge feathered Mohawk headdress that was one and a half times taller than her head. Introduced by Jane Fonda with the words, "Wait'll you see what's gonna come out here," Cher was appearing as a presenter after what many considered an Oscar snub (Cher was not nominated for her performance in Mask). "As you can see," said Cher, "I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress."

Mackie is also known for having designed costumes for Whitney Houston, especially splashy evening gowns which she wore for many years during concert tours and award shows and which became a significant element of her appearance.

Mackie is often called the sultan of sequins, or the rajah of rhinestones, known for his sparkling and imaginative costume designs He has won nine Emmy Awards for his designs, and has been nominated three times for an Academy Award.

Mackie has said, "A woman who wears my clothes is not afraid to be noticed."[5]

Mackie is also known for his exclusive dress designs for collector's edition Barbie dolls.[6]

In 2002, Mackie was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.[7]

Personal life

He attended Pasadena City College and Chouinard Art Institute. On March 14, 1960, Mackie married LuLu Porter (née Marianne Wolford), a singer, actress, and later an acting teacher.[8][9] She had given birth to the couple's only child, a son, Robert Gordon Mackie Jr. (aka Robin Mackie), the previous year.[10] The couple divorced in 1963, and Robin Mackie, a makeup artist, died in 1994 of an AIDS-related illness.[9][11][12][13]

Mackie's life partner was costume designer Ray Aghayan, whom Mackie had started working with as an assistant. The two worked together on projects at least through the 1970s, as well as having separate clients. They were together until Aghayan's death in 2011.[14] In early 1993 he was over a million dollars in debt, which caused him to sell his $850,000 Beverly Hills mansion and Los Angeles studio.[15]

Notable Mackie clothing wearers

Some of the people who have worn Mackie's outfits include:

Cultural References

  • Bart Simpson in Episode 18 of Season 5 of The Simpsons ("Burns' Heir") offers to Milhouse Van Houten the blazer he is wearing stating it is a "Bob Mackie original". Milhouse responds "Wow! A Bob Mackie!" before declining the offer. [17]


  1. ^ White, Jackie (October 30, 1999). "Bob Mackie May Be Stars' Best Friend".  
  2. ^ Wilson, Eric (November 17, 2005). "Bob Mackie Is Selling a Share of His Excess".  
  3. ^ UNLV Libraries Digital Collections. "The Modern Ziegfeld: Hallelujah Hollywood!". Showgirls. University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  4. ^ UNLV Libraries Digital Collections. "Jubilee!". Showgirls. University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Bob Mackie: Man of Design". Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Bob Mackie Interview: Brazilian Banana Bonanza™ Barbie® Doll and More!". Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List". 
  8. ^ "People: Aug. 16, 1963".  
  9. ^ a b Current Biography Yearbook 1989.  
  10. ^ Laufenberg, Norbert B. (2005). Entertainment Celebrities.  
  11. ^ Min, Janice (January 24, 1994). "Putting on the Glitz—Again".  
  12. ^ Riggs, Thomas (2003). Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television.  
  13. ^ Witchel, Alex (May 8, 1994). "THEATER; Beads. Feathers. Sequins. Lace. Fantasy. Flash.".  
  14. ^ Vitello, Paul (October 15, 2011). "Ray Aghayan, Costume Designer, Dies at 83". New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  15. ^ .,_Bob. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Looney Tunes Show s02e09 Episode Script". Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "The Simpsons s05e18 Episode Script". Retrieved 30 September 2015. 

External links

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