Orry who? Surprisingly (at least to me), that was the response from Award-winning Australian director, Gillian Armstrong when producer, Damien Parer asked her to direct a documentary about three-time, Oscar-winning, Australian costume designer, Orry Kelly (1897-1964). He won three Oscars in the 1950s – for An American in Paris, Les Girls and Some Like It Hot; he was nominated for Gypsy. His resume is jaw-dropping. Leaving his mark all over Hollywood. He is one of Australia’s greatest success stories!
Yet, not surprisingly, “Orry who?” would be the response that most Australians would have if asked the same question that was asked of Armstrong. Kelly took Hollywood by storm. He dressed everyone who was anyone. He was one of Australia’s earliest, most successful exports, yet he’s mostly forgotten. Perhaps languishing in the shadows of the more well-known designers – Adrian, Irene, Cassini and Edith Head, his list of credits (over 300 films!) rivals any one of them.
Orry Kelly’s films > http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0650673/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
Prior to his death (liver cancer), he completed his autobiography, “Women I’ve Undressed” (the documentary is a variation on the name), which was said to go into detail about his relationship with Cary Grant! The book was put on hold when Grant reportedly threatened legal action, Kelly died, and the manuscript went into oblivion, staying in the protective hands of his family…until now! It will finally be released early-August, 2015!
Order the book here > http://www.booktopia.com.au/women-i-ve-undressed-orry-kelly/prod9780857985637.html
Above: Orry Kelly on the set of Some Like It Hot, fitting Marilyn Monroe.
Above: Marilyn Monroe wearing the “nude flapper dress” from Some Like It Hot. Designed by Orry Kelly.
With the imminent release of the book and documentary, as well as the exhibition (“Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood”) opening at Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image (August 18), Orry Kelly is finally recognised, and rightly honoured for his prolific and influential contribution to film history, just as he should be…and in his home country to boot!
No more, “Orry who?”
More on the documentary here…
More on Orry Kelly’s career and his long-awaited revival here…