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Ray Aghayan

Designer
( b. Jul 28, 1928 Tehran, IRAN - d. Oct 10, 2011 Los Angeles, California, USA ) Male
Ray Aghayan designed his first dress, at 13, for a member of the royal court of the shah of Iran, which at the time employed his mother as a couturier, a sort of in-house designer for the personal and ceremonial needs of the Reza Pahlavi family.

Mr. Aghayan, who died in Los Angeles, spent most of the rest of his life designing clothing for another house of royals, the one in Hollywood, as the costume designer for stars like Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Julie Andrews. He was 83.

His death was confirmed by his longtime partner, Bob Mackie, who began his career as Mr. Aghayan’s assistant before becoming a legendary designer to his own roster of Hollywood stars. Mr. Aghayan (pronounced ah-gah-YAHN) was in frail health for several years and recently had a heart attack, Mr. Mackie said.

Mr. Aghayan was nominated for the Academy Award three times, and in 1967 he and Mr. Mackie shared the first Emmy ever awarded for costume design, for their partnership in the TV movie “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

The partners received Oscar nominations for the 43 ensembles worn by Ms. Ross in “Lady Sings the Blues,” the 1972 Billie Holiday biopic, and for the 1930s-style dresses, hats, gloves and shoes worn by Ms. Streisand in “Funny Lady,” the 1975 sequel to “Funny Girl.” Mr. Aghayan received his first Oscar nomination for “Gaily, Gaily,” a 1969 comedy set in Chicago in 1910.

Gorgen Ray Aghayan was born on July 28, 1928, in Tehran to a wealthy family of Armenian heritage. His father died when he was young. When he was a teenager, his love for American movies made him beg his mother, Yasmine, to send him to California to study, instead of to Paris, where most wealthy Iranians sent their children. She agreed, and made the arrangements. She followed him there in the early 1970s.

Besides his work in television and movies, Mr. Aghayan designed the costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and was the costume consultant for actors presenting awards at the Oscars from the late 1960s until 2001.

Theatre credits include: Vintage '60, The Egg, Eddie Fisher at the Winter Garden, Applause, On the Town, and Lorelei.

Source: The New York Times Obituary.



Productions Date of Productions
Lorelei
[Musical, Comedy, Original]
  • Miss Channing's costumes by Ray Aghayan
Jan 27, 1974 - Nov 03, 1974
On the Town
[Musical, Comedy, Revival]
  • Costume Design by Ray Aghayan
Oct 31, 1971 - Jan 01, 1972
Applause
[Musical, Original]
  • Costume Design by Ray Aghayan
Mar 30, 1970 - Jul 27, 1972
Eddie Fisher at the Winter Garden
[Special, Original]
  • Costume Design by Ray Aghayan
Oct 02, 1962 - Nov 03, 1962
The Egg
[Play, Original]
  • Costume Design by Ray Aghayan
Jan 08, 1962 - Jan 13, 1962
Vintage '60
[Musical, Revue, Original]
  • Original costumes by Ray Aghayan
Sep 12, 1960 - Sep 17, 1960
1970 Tony Award® Best Costume Design
 Applause [nominee]
Costume Design by Ray Aghayan
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