STYLE ICON: Orry-Kelly


Orry-Kelly was the professional name of Orry George Kelly an Australian-American Hollywood costume designer. Prior to 2014, he was Australia's most prolific Oscar winner, having won three Academy Awards for Best Costume Design.

Orry-Kelly was born in Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, and was sent to Sydney at age 17 to study banking, and there he developed his interest in theater.

He journeyed to New York to pursue an acting career and shared an apartment there with Charles Phelps and Cary Grant. A job painting murals in a nightclub led to his employment by Fox East Coast studios illustrating titles and designing costumes and sets for Broadway's Shubert Revues and George White's Scandals.

After moving to Hollywood in 1932, Orry-Kelly was hired by Warner Bros. as their chief costume designer and he remained there until 1944. Later, his designs were also seen in films at Universal, RKO, 20th Century Fox, and MGM studios. He won three Academy Awards for Best Costume Design (An American in Paris, Les Girls, and Some Like It Hot) and was nominated for a fourth (Gypsy).

Orry-Kelly worked on many films now considered classics, including The Maltese Falcon, 42nd Street, Casablanca, Arsenic and Old Lace, and Auntie Mame.

Kelly's memoirs, “Women I've Undressed” were discovered in the care of a relative, as a result of publicity surrounding Gillian Armstrong's 2015 documentary on Kelly, Women He's Undressed. The memoir was published for the first time in 2015.

A longtime alcoholic, Orry-Kelly died of liver cancer in Hollywood and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills. His pallbearers included Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Billy Wilder, and George Cukor and his eulogy was read by Jack L. Warner.