The Junta Club met on May 5 with Shelia Robbins as hostess. The 15 members present were served an “indoor” picnic plate.
During the business meeting the roll was called and minutes were read and approved. The resignation of Clydell Hudson was accepted with regret.
The Life and Times of Edith Head by David Chierichette was reviewed by Anne Holmes.
Edith Head, born Edith Claire Possener in 1897 in California, according to the reviewer, was Jewish to the core but was not allowed to claim her heritage. The family had financial reversals in 1900 and Edith grew up in a boarding house. Her parents were divorced and her mother remarried, and Edith embraced the Catholic Church with her stepfather. She attended high school in Los Angeles and University of California in Berkley.
She was advised by her step- father to use her brain to make her way in life, “Edith my girl, you’re no beauty. If you’re going to get anywhere in this world it will be with your brains.” This is exactly what she did, even if sometimes she used it in a dishonest way, like the time she had applied for a job but was told her sketches were not versatile enough. She “borrowed” sketches done by fellow students and substituted her name for theirs.
She received a masters degree from Stanford, got a job as a French teacher in a prestigious school. Nearly all the students parent’s here were employed in some capacity in Hollywood. Here she met her husband-to-be. Her marriage in 1923 lasted only as long as the honeymoon but she kept her married name.
She began what was to be her “real” career as a sketch artist for Paramount Studios. Between the years of 1925 and 1982 she designed for 560 films. She was nominated for the Academy Award 32 times and won 8 Oscars. She
Head designed to please the actress, therefore she was in great demand. She never designed with current fads so her designs are timeless. Some of her clients were Marlena Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, Vera Lang, Anne Baxter, Barbara Stanwick, Joan Crawford, Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds. Her favorite was Grace Kelly. Head said, “I’ve dressed thousands of actors, actresses and animals, but whenever I’m asked who is the greatest I answer, Grace Kelly. She is a charming lady, a most gifted actress and, to me, a valuable friend.”
She thoroughly enjoyed the glory of the movie business and felt fortunate to work with Alfred Hitchcock, who gave her good direction. Edith considered the costumes in To Catch a Thief her best designs.
Edith Head is widely considered the most important figure in the history of Hollywood Costume design. She designed for more than half a century and was involved in 560 films.
She died on October 24, 1981, four days before her 84th birthday, but still working.
About Chris Elkins
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