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Theoni V. Aldredge, one of the greatest Costume Designers of the 20th Century, Dies at 88

It is always a landmark for me when a theatre great passes on, and reading in this morning’s NY Times that costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge had died in Connecticut three days ago. struck me as one such landmark.

Aldredge won three Tony Awards for Costuming: Annie in 1977,  Barnum in 1980 and La Cage aux Folles in 1987. She was nominated for Tonys 12 other times, most recently in 2006 for the revival of Follies.

Aldredge was born Theoni Athanasiou Vashlioti in 1932 in Salonika, Greece (which, oddly enough, is where my relatives on my Father’s side come from). She acquired her last name in 1953 when she married actor Tom Aldredge, who she remained with for the rest of her life.

She often worked for Joe Papp at the Public Theater and, when Papp brought his big pieces to Broadway, like Two Gentlemen Of Verona in the 1970s, it was Theoni Aldredge who costumed the huge cast. Aldredge was known for beautiful designs that took large budgets to create… surprising since she did so much non-profit work for Papp.

In films, she won three Oscars and had five other nominations. Her films included Ghostbusters, Network, Moonstruck and Addams Family Values – indicative of the range of styles she commanded.

In 1985 she designed both costumes and environment for Akyvernites politeis, a television series in Greece.