LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) — Ray Aghayan, a two-time Oscar nominee who won the first Emmy Award for costume design, dressed the glamorous Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross and did the costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics, died Tuesday, October 11. He was 83.
Aghayan, the longtime partner of Bob Mackie, who started as his assistant, died of “unknown causes,” the Archive of American Television said Wednesday.
Aghayan was instrumental in persuading the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to officially recognize the contribution of costume designers.With Mackie, he won the first-ever Emmy for costume design in 1967 for NBC’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass.” He went on to earn two more Emmys (amid nine total nominations) and received a career achievement award from the Costume Designers Guild in 2008.
A native of Tehran, Iran, Aghayan was nominated for Oscars for Norman Jewison’s “Gaily, Gaily” (1969); with Mackie and Norma Koch for “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972) starring Ross as Billie Holliday and, again with Mackie, for “Funny Lady” (1975) starring Streisand.
For “Funny Lady,” Aghayan and Mackie created 40 complete 1930s-style outfits — not only dresses and suits, but also the hats, gloves, scarves and shoes — for Streisand’s Fanny Brice.
The son of a society couturier in Tehran, Aghayan at age 14 designed the mourning clothes for the wife of the Shah of Iran, Queen Fawzia. Three years later, he convinced his mother to allow him to move on his own to Los Angeles.