Wakeling, Gwen (1901–1982)

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Wakeling, Gwen (1901–1982)

American movie costume designer . Born on March 3, 1901, in Detroit, Michigan; died in June 1982 in Los Angeles, California.

Worked for Cecil B. De Mille at Pathé and Paramount; was head costume designer at Fox (1933–42); worked on over 120 films for a number of studios (1927–65); also designed for television, stage plays and light opera companies; nominated for Academy Award for Samson and Delilah (1950).

Gwen Wakeling was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1901. She began work at Pathé and Paramount as a costume designer when she was discovered by Cecil B. De Mille. Her first film was his 1927 movie King of Kings. In 1933, she became head costume designer at Fox, and between 1927 and 1965 she worked on over 120 films, mostly in the early 1930s and 1940s. Wakeling was the costume designer for numerous Shirley Temple (Black) films, including The Littlest Rebel, Poor Little Rich Girl, Dimples, Heidi, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Little Miss Broadway, Just Around the Corner, The Little Princess, and Young People. She also designed costumes for John Ford's 1939 Oscar-winning version of The Grapes of Wrath, starring Henry Fonda. In 1950, she was nominated for an Academy Award for De Mille's 1949 picture Samson and Delilah.

In addition to her movie work for Columbia, United Artists, Republic, RKO and Warner Bros., Wakeling also designed costumes for stage plays, productions at the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Association and for NBC-TV.

Paula Morris , D.Phil., Brooklyn, New York