Walter Plunkett

Active - 1928 - 1966  |   Born - Jun 5, 1902   |   Died - Mar 8, 1982   |   Genres - Drama, Musical, Western, Comedy, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

By his own admission, American costume designer Walter Plunkett held delusions of movie stardom when he came to Hollywood in 1925. While he enjoyed substantial roles in stock and vaudeville, the best Plunkett could do in the movies was the occasional bit or extra part. Through the kindess of an old friend, costumer Howard Greer, Plunkett received a job at Joseph P. Kennedy's FBO studios. By the time FBO became RKO Radio in 1929, Plunkett had worked his way up to the position of designer, working on such earlier RKO productions as Rio Rita (1929), Morning Glory (1933) and Flying Down to Rio (1933). Freelancing after 1937, Plunkett worked for such independents as Hal Roach, Walter Wanger, Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick. It was for Selznick that Plunkett undertook his most ambitious assigment: Designing all costumes and uniforms for the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind. He did not receive an Oscar for this effort, but twelve years later he shared an Academy Award with Orry-Kelly and Irene for An American in Paris (1951). Walter Plunkett retired in 1966, after having worked in films, on Broadway and for the Metropolitan Opera.

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