The extraordinary Hollywood story of Australia’s Orry-Kelly
Running time: 99 minutes
Release Date: July 16, 2015
International Sales Agent: Hollywood Classics
Australian Distributor: Rialto Distribution
Australian TV: Foxtel Broadcasting
Directed by Gillian Armstrong
Produced by Damien Parer & Gillian Armstrong
Written by Katherine Thompson
Cinematography by Anna Howard ACS
Costume Design by Edie Kurzer
Production Design by Ross Wallace
Editor Nicholas Beauman
Composer Cezary Skubiszewski
Cathy Gallagher email@example.com
0416 22 72 82
WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED – SHORT SYNOPSIS The extraordinary Hollywood story of Australia’s Orry-Kelly…the designer whose costumes created some of the most magical moments in cinema history.
Orry-Kelly was a Hollywood legend, his costume designs adored by cinema's greatest leading ladies - but in his home country of Australia his achievements remained unknown. Now acclaimed director Gillian Armstrong is bringing the legend home and celebrating the life of this extraordinary Aussie in her new film, Women He's Undressed.
During the boom years of Hollywood he was costume designer on an astonishing 282 motion pictures. He designed for the stars like Marilyn Munroe, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Rosalind Russell, Errol Flynn and many more of the immortals. His films included Some Like It Hot, Casablanca, An American in Paris and Now, Voyager.
Orry was as big a legend behind the scenes as the on-screen legends he adoringly dressed. Talented, daring, brash, bold, the toast of Hollywood yet the thorn in the side of many a studio head and the first Australian to win three Academy Awards – But who was Orry-Kelly and how could he be so unknown in his homeland?
He was outrageous, witty, outspoken and uncompromising and he survived partially protected by his friendship with Jack and Ann Warner and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, and ultimately by his extraordinary talent.
Director Gillian Armstrong reunites with her Unfolding Florence co-conspirator, writer Katherine Thompson in crafting a revealing behind the scenes look at the extraordinary life of Orry-Kelly.
Featuring interviews with screen and fashion icons Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury, June Dally-Watkins , costume designers Catherine Martin, Ann Roth, Kym Barrett, Michael Wilkinson, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Hollywood identities and historians including director/producer Eric Sherman, Hollywood fixer Scotty Bowers, Leonard Maltin, David Chierichetti, Marc Eliot, William J Mann, Jean Mathison, Larry McQueen and Barbara Warner Howard (daughter of Ann & Jack Warner).
GILLIAN ARMSTRONG’S VISION All the best characters rock the boat!
Producer Damien Parer approached me with a documentary proposal, “Gowns by Orry-Kelly” in June 2012. I was hooked. Orry-Kelly’s story was an immediately inspiring subject for a documentary.
And yes, I had never heard of him either.
There is something completely compelling about this very talented, very outlandish, gay Australian rascal’s journey in Hollywood.
Perhaps I like them talented and troubled. But so do audiences!
I believed it could make a wonderfully unique movie, funny, rich, colourful, entertaining and ultimately quite moving. It needed a writer with a skill as a storyteller and a real touch of wit and humour.
I was delighted that the brilliant Katherine Thomson (my co- conspirator on \) was equally inspired. We threw ourselves into many months of Orry research and the period his life covers, from 1900s Australia, New York in the 1920s and Los Angeles in the 1930s until the 1960s.
Actually, almost the entire history of the movies, from the beginning of sound, the development of colour, through to Wide Screen and Technicolour.
So much that even I, as a filmmaker, had not known about.
It was through this research that we discovered that his journey is an even richer and more fascinating narrative, because it works on a number deeper levels and themes.
1. His Creative and Career Journey:
The chutzpah of leaving Sydney at age 24 and crossing the seas to New York and crazy wild Broadway in the twenties, landing there young and poor and friendless and ending up pals with any of the up and coming vaudeville artists like Jack Benny and George and Gracie Allen and young Archie Leach.
2. The Hollywood Journey:
Orry was there for twenty years in the forefront of Warner Bros. Studios rich heyday as a significant participant in the creation of many major film classics.
He wined (a lot) and dined with the A list at Jack and Ann Warner’s house, at the glamorous star studded Hearst parties at San Simeon and the more circumspect George Cukor and Cole Porter Sunday gay pool parties.
He was a close friend with the gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, who fortunately covered up many of his escapades. He had a big mouth and he knew everything!
3. The Classic Costume Designs and the Movies:
His volatile but brilliant design relationships with many directors and stars, particularly young Bette Davis.
His work was key in helping create her film characters, the cornerstone of her incredible career and the many award winning classic movies. And the fabulous clips from those movies that I too have now discovered and fallen in love with.
And finally the ups and downs of his own personal life and his strength and integrity (or stubbornness) to not take the more socially acceptable conventional and safer way.
His fight to live an honest life as a gay man during repressive times and to hold a long kept secret.
WHO WAS ORRY-KELLY?
Slightly chunky, a lover of boxing and booze, Orry-Kelly did not look like the cliché costume designer. He was an outspoken rebel with a biting wit and yes he divided people, but he lived a life of artistic and personal integrity.
His was the journey of a talented artist, who helped create dreams, characters and stories in iconic movies that have survived the test of time.
He won three Academy Awards and many nominations for costume, and was the designer behind cinema classics like Casablanca, 42nd Street, Now, Voyager, Oklahoma!, Some Like It Hot, An American in Paris and Aunty Mame.
Yet very few know that he was Australian, born in Kiama, a small coastal town in New South Wales Australia. His costumes were the backbone of many great films and star’s careers. His output, range and quality were outstanding. He designed from the gritty Warner’s gangster films like Lady Killer and Maltese Falcon, to the Busby Berkeley extravaganzas of Wonder Bar and 42nd Street, working with actors like Dolores del Rio, Kay Francis, Ruth Chatterton, Barbara Stanwyck, Humphrey Bogart and Ginger Rogers.
He was the head of Warner’s costume department from 1932 to 1944.
He formed a close collaboration with Bette Davis and helped create many of Bette’s most outstanding films (over twenty in all) from Jezebel to Now, Voyager and Dark Victory. He was still designing in the 50s and 60s with actresses like young Jane Fonda, Natalie Wood and Marilyn Monroe and won the Academy Award for Les Girls, Some Like it Hot and An American in Paris, before his death in Los Angeles from liver cancer in 1964.
He created clothes and wrote columns that affected women and dress worldwide, from Broken Hill to Tampa, Florida. He was known for bravery, class, understatement and style, which is why his designs have stood the test of time.
THE FILM TONE:
Orry was certainly out there, funny and self-deprecating, so we have tried to capture that with a humorous, cheeky style to our story telling.
He is our narrator and commentator; his comments and humour take us on the journey and exploration of his life, his talent and his secrets.
We use him to tie together a pastiche of stylised images and heightened re-enactments, articles, letters to his mother, clips from the films, comments from actors and other outstanding Academy winning costume designers (many are Australian) design experts and Hollywood historians.
He also takes us on the ups and downs of a career where a big mouth and alcohol were not the best for a smooth ride personally or professionally!
As there are very few still alive who knew him well, we started with the discovery of some letters to his close friends Marion Davies and Hedda Hopper, including an unpublished chapter from the rumoured “lost memoir “ that he sent to the very ill Marion so she could read what he said about her. This find confirmed that the memoir existed.
We also found a number of newspaper interviews (especially during his “Star,” return visits to Australia from the 30s till late 50s) and many pithy comments on everyday dress and style in his syndicated columns.
It was from these that we were able to get a sense of his voice, his character, opinions and his renowned humour.
While we searched far and wide in the US and Australia for his memoir.
THE BOY IN THE SAILOR SUIT:
The Kiama and District Historical Society was wonderfully supportive and had some great stills of Orry and his father, a local hero.
We have taken the key visual motif of the boy George Orry Kelly in a sailor suit, photographed by a small wooden boat in his local Kiama photography studio, as our central visual theme.
The rowing and the water become our theme of tenacity, doggedness and endeavour.
AN ARTIST’S JOURNEY:
Overall this is an exploration of a young Australian artist’s life:
What made him, where did his talent come from, how did he make it so big internationally and also his demons and the many ups and downs of trying to sustain such a long Hollywood career?
What made him so special as a costume designer? What was his brilliance? What actually does a great costume designer contribute?
What was he like to work with?
What were all these rumours of trouble and tantrums and drinking?
What was his relationship with Bette Davis and the infamous Jack Warner like?
And what was his personal life?
And his rumoured close friendship with Cary Grant?
After searching for over a year, and following a number of dead end leads, we had virtually given up, when we had a random breakthrough.
I was heard mentioning Orry on Newcastle radio station interview promoting a local film festival by a friend of Orry’s grandniece who kindly contacted me wondering if I would be interested in meeting his grandniece who by the way had his memoir!
This led to the document she had been holding in her laundry cupboard in a pillowslip for her mother for over 30 years.
This was absolutely thrilling.
Finally we had Orry’s real voice and opinions and so much richer, complicated detail about him such as why he really left Sydney and why he left New York and his friendships and personal and work life.
The boy from the bush, as we discovered he called himself, had finally come alive!
At the same time, thanks to the brilliant assistance of Jack and Ann Warner’s daughter, Barbara Warner Howard, we found an unmarked box of all Orry’s personal photos and drawings that his best friend Ann, her mother, had saved along with his Oscars, after his death.
It had ended up lost and unopened for forty years in the Warner Archives and would probably still be there without this movie. It was also a treasure trove.
It gave us a wonderful insight into him and his work and some unique visual images.
Finally, we were fortunate to find his friends, ninety year old, ex fixer to the stars, Scotty Bowers who adored Orry, ninety year old June Dally-Watkins, who stayed with him in Los Angeles in the late 50s and 86 year old and still working, Costume Designer Ann Roth, who was his assistant on Oklahoma! and the youngsters Jane Fonda and Angela Lansbury.
All knew him personally and generously gave their time on camera to fill in the last gaps in his story.
BEHIND THE SCENES:
We also touch on those amazing, vibrant years of film making at Warner Bros, his relationship with the famously volatile Jack Warner and life in the studio factory. And his productive creative relationship with young Bette Davis
And his secret and tempestuous friendship with Cary Grant who is forced to choose a very different path.
This is our other key theme, the exploration of a young gay man’s journey through this era, a participant in the creation of Hollywood dreams, in a society that still operates with fear and hypocrisy.
Orry was not one to compromise his art or his personal integrity.
It has been a challenge and a joy to try and bring his story alive and try to capture him with compassion and humour.
As Ann Roth says, he lived a big full life.
He had fun and he was a fighter.
I wish I had met him.
Long synopsis: Kiama, a small township on the coast of New South Wales, Australia, home to the Kiama blowhole and three-time Academy Award® winner, Orry-Kelly.
Orry-Kelly’s former, very famous, not supposed to talk about, ‘roommate’, told Orry that the Kiama blowhole explained a lot about him.
And thus begins the journey to discover one of Australia’s greatest talents, albeit one that nobody knows…. at least not yet.
Orry-Kelly was born on 31st December, 1897 to mother Florence Kelly and his gentleman tailor, hard-drinking father, William Kelly. His mother introduced him to the theatre at the age of seven, taking him to the big smoke of Sydney to see a production of Dick Whittington. Orry himself said she had to prise him out of the red velvet seat when the curtain call was over. At the age of seventeen, with the support of his mother and father, Orry moved to Sydney where he was to finish his schooling and then join a bank – so he would meet a “gentler class”, his mother told him. On leaving Kiama, William Kelly who by this stage had given up the drink, presented Orry with a pink carnation he had propagated himself. He called the carnation, The Orry.
Sydney in 1918 and Orry is increasingly bored with the bank and the people who work there. The war has ended and people are celebrating. Sydney is wild – cocaine, orgies, opium dens, men caught in unspeakable acts. Orry longs to join the frivolities, he is naturally attracted to the world of theatre and actively auditions for roles, finally landing one line in Stiffy and Moe in bawdy revue. Orry revels in his new world, torn between the posh end of town with its bored wealthy wives and widows happy to pay theatre types for company, and the alluring underbelly of Woolloomooloo, with its ladies of the night, speak-easies and the irresistible man with criminal connections and eyes just like movie star Wallace Reid. Trust Orry to fall in deep lust with Sydney’s most notorious pick-pocket, GG (Gentleman George). But it’s a short lived affair and Orry is in too deep, he’s seen too much of the criminal world and needs to escape, somewhere where no one knows him, where he can start again.
In 1922, Orry sets sail for prohibition New York on the Sonora via Honolulu, bravely stepping out into the unknown to start a new life. He finds himself living in a hotel on 47th Street, aptly named ‘Dream Street’ because of all the actors living there. He had many friends amongst the bums and bandits of Broadway, bunking with Gracie Allen, George Burns and Jack Benny, all happily flaunting Prohibition. Orry once again joined the theatre, but his days in the Broadway chorus were numbered after falling off the stage one too many times, chorus girl in hand. So he turns his hand to designing hand-painted shawls, at least until they go out of fashion.
With the popularity of his shawls, Orry adds hand-painted ties to his repertoire. It is at this time that the devastatingly handsome acrobat Archie Leach would walk into Orry’s life. Archie was penniless, homeless, a long way from his home in Bristol, England, but did I mention he was devastatingly handsome. It was the start of an on again, off again…’mateship’, Orry and Archie were two peas in a pod, both a long way from home, Archie would buy English Cod and make fish and chips to keep them from feeing homesick. Orry would allow Archie to cut the tie stencils and Orry would handle the paint, it paid the rent. It was the Kelly-Leach era, they lived together on and off for nine years.
During this time Orry returned to Australia for his father’s funeral. Archie liked to remind him that he always had his eye out for beautiful blondes, yet despite his boasting, he was still there when Orry returned to New York. Archie longed to get his face on the stage, and longed to be famous. He used his exceptional looks to get paid walking out wealthy women on the town.
New York nightclub shows offer Orry the opportunity to create sets, his transformations receive good reviews. At the Shubert Theatre he starts dressing Ethel Barrymore and someone called Katherine Hepburn. The Shubert’s like Orry’s costume designs so much they promote him to wardrobe maintenance. Orry remarks, “every straight guy wants my job making sure the nudes at the Wintergarden have remembered to shave.”
29th October, 1929 and the stock exchange crashes, thirty billion dollars wiped out overnight. Orry and Archie join the speakeasy crowd. Orry paints the walls of a bar owned by Belle Livingstone, ex-showgirl and one of New York’s most dangerous women. His wall of fornicating monkeys becomes infamous amongst the underbelly of New York. Orry suggests they start their own speak-easy, something that doesn’t go down well with the mob. Orry and Archie need to get out of town, fast. The Shubert’s give Orry a season in St Louis and Archie joins him. When the gangsters do eventually track them down, they decide not to kill Orry as he painted the monkeys. But they give him until sundown to get out of town and stay out. Orry hitches a ride all the way to…
….Los Angeles…. the 1930s, talkies are taking over. Orry arrives with a broken arm and cuts and bruises. He knows no one, his work in New York gives him no entrée into Hollywood. Archie arrives in town soon after to successfully screen test for Paramount. They change his name to Cary Grant and hail him as the next Clark Gable. Orry spends the next six months broke and sneaking into double features, appalled by the gaudy glitter and sequinned gowns he sees on the big screen. Mrs Kelly tells Orry to persevere, to get himself into Joan Crawford’s trailer as they have her dressed like a wedding cake! Meanwhile, Warner Bros. Jack Warner has broken all the rules and raided Paramount and stolen some of their biggest stars. Jack’s only issue was he now had to find a dress guy who could make his new ladies Kay Francis and Ruth Chatterton, happy. And thanks to Archie’s new agent, Orry’s sketches just happened to be with the powers that be at Warner Bros. Jack Warner decides to give Orry a go. The kid from Kiama is engaged to dress film stars. Who would have thought it.
Orry writes to his mother. “The studio wants me to change my name like Archie has, to something more ‘Parisian’. But I told them Kelly is good enough for me, so they added a hyphen instead! When I get my first movie, feel free to applaud the credits.”
Within a year every studio had fashion designers on full time staff. But Orry was different from his contemporaries; he made an impact with simplicity. He set the tone at Warner Bros., elegant simplicity, class. Orry quipped “Repeat after me. No actress of mine does a love scene in floral and fricking puffed sleeves.”
Orry writes to his mother. “I’m dressing sixty pictures a year with not a lot of help. For my contract renewal I told you I’d get my Aussie up.” And he did, Orry-Kelly the boy from the bush held out for six weeks until Jack Warner caved in and agreed to pay Orry seven hundred and fifty dollars a week.
Orry-Kelly went on to become one of Hollywood’s highest paid costume designers. He was brash, bold, brave and revered by some of Hollywood’s brightest and best actresses. His mouth however could get him into trouble, afterall Orry was an Aussie, and being upfront wasn’t to everyone’s taste – especially some of the powerful studio heads who were used to ‘yes’ people. This created a rocky road at times for Orry, but no one could deny his talent and in Hollywood, talent would always win out.
Orry was Costume Designer on an astonishing 285 motion pictures, designed for stars like Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Rosalind Russell, Errol Flynn and many more luminaries of the silver screen. His films included Some Like It Hot, Casablanca, An American in Paris and Now, Voyager. Orry-Kelly (Jack to his friends) won three Academy Awards® and was nominated for a fourth. Orry was Head of Warner Brothers Costume Department during the richest period of American film history, the establishment of the ‘dream factory’ and a key influence on mass culture through his costume patents and radio shows.
He was outrageous, witty, outspoken, a drinker, and uncompromising in his sexuality at a time when Hollywood was deeply conservative but he survived partially due to the protection provided by his friendship with Jack and Ann Warner and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper - but ultimately due to his extraordinary, unparalleled talent.
CAST & CREATIVES DARREN GILSHENAN PLAYING ORRY-KELLY After graduating from The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in ’88 Darren began his career in Musicals before spending ten years with The Bell Shakespeare Company. Sketch comedy followed with three years on Full Frontal followed by some great TV series; Dossa and Joe (BBC/Granada), the AFI Nominated Chandon Pictures and the Logie nominated Derrick which he wrote and starred in.
Darren returned to the theatre for seven productions with The Sydney Theatre Company before again returning to the small screen for A Moody Christmas and The Moodys, as Uncle Terry, Top of the Lake created by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting, Rake 3, Janet King, The Killing Field, Old School, Devils Playground and recently, Maximum Choppage .
Film credits include Save Your Legs, The Outlaw Michael Howe and the AACTA nominated Liebermans in the Sky. Recently Darren returned to the stage with Mother and Son, playing the role of Arthur and will continue in the theatre later this year as Piggsy, in a festival version of Monkey - Journey to the West and Absent Friends by Alan Ayckbourn at the Ensemble Theatre.
Darren’s heartfelt and complex characterizations have led to a great breadth of work across all areas of the industry with acknowledgement from the industry and the public, some of which are included to follow.
DEBORAH KENNEDY PLAYING MRS KELLY Deborah’s theatre credits include, for the Ensemble Theatre: Other Desert Cities, Diving for Pearls and A Conversation. For Belvoir St. Theatre: The Book of Everything, which included a New York season, What the Butler Saw, The Little Cherry Orchard, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Hamlet. For The Sydney Theatre Company: Pygmalion, Woman in Mind, Soulmates , Major Barbara, Comedy of Errors, Simpatico, Top Girls and The Temple.
Recent television credits include the character Doris Collins in series 1 and 2 of A Place to Call Home (Seven network), Janet King (ABC), Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (ABC), Laid (ABC), Rake (ABC), Dance Academy (ABC), The Jesters. (Foxtel) and Mishka, in “Neighbours” (Channel 9)
Film Credits include Women He’s Undressed, Closed for Winter, Charlie and Boots, Swimming Upstream, Thank God he met Lizzie, The Sum of Us, Idiot Box and Death in Brunswick.
GILLIAN ARMSTRONG DIRECTOR/PRODUCER Gillian Armstrong discovered her passion for film at Swinburne Art School, graduating in 1971. After a year in Sydney as an assistant editor, she was one of twelve, along with Phillip Noyce, selected for the inaugural year of the AFTRS. Her graduation film 100 A DAY won numerous awards and was selected for the Sydney Film Festival and Grenoble International Festival of Short Films in 1974.
Gillian became an integral part of Australia’s new wave of film in the 1970s.
Her most recent feature documentary, WOMEN HE’S UNDRESSED, saw her reunite with award winning writer Katherine Thomson and is produced by Gillian and Damien Parer.
In 1975 Gillian directed SMOKES AND LOLLIES, the first in a series of films portraying the coming of age of three Adelaide girls. FOURTEEN’S GOOD, EIGHTEEN’S BETTER followed in 1980, then BINGO, BRACES AND BRIDESMAIDS (1988), and the award-winning NOT FOURTEEN AGAIN (1996). LOVE, LUST AND LIES (2010,) won the ADG Award for Best Direction in a Feature Documentary.
In 1979 Gillian became the first Australian woman in fifty years to direct a feature film.
MY BRILLIANT CAREER, starring Judy Davis and Sam Neill, won seven AFI Awards, including Best Director and Best Film, and was selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
1982’s STARSTRUCK, a musical with Jo Kennedy, broke more moulds as one of Australia’s first pop/rock musicals.
In 1984, Armstrong made her first American film, MRS SOFFEL, starring Mel Gibson and Diane Keaton. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress and a Golden Berlin Bear in 1985. After 1986’s HBO concert special HARD TO HANDLE on Bob Dylan, Armstrong directed HIGH TIDE, starring Judy Davis and a young Claudia Karvan. It won Best Film at the Houston Film Festival, the Grand Prix at the International de Creteil, and Best Actress (Judy Davis) at the New York Film Critic’s Circle.
THE LAST DAYS OF CHEZ NOUS was nominated for eleven AFI Awards including Best Film and Best Director, and three Film Critics’ Circle of Australia Awards. LITTLE WOMEN followed, garnering three Oscar nominations including Best Actress (Winona Ryder). And best Music ( Thomas Newman ) and Costume ( Colleen Atwood )
OSCAR AND LUCINDA, starring Ralph Fiennes and Cate Blanchett in one of her first screen roles, won five AFI Awards and one Academy Award. In 2001 CHARLOTTE GRAY, starring Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup, won the 2002 Las Vegas Critic’s Society Award for Best Actress.
In 2006 Gillian directed the acclaimed feature documentary UNFOLDING FLORENCE: THE MANY LIVES OF FLORENCE BROADHURST which was selected for the Sundance, Montreal, Karlovy Vary, Valladolid and Sheffield Film Festivals. The film won an Australian Writers’ Guild Award (Katherine Thomson), Australian Screen Editors Award (Nicholas Beauman) and Australian Cinematography Award (John Radel) and was nominated for three AFI Awards including Best Documentary.
Death Defying Acts, produced by Marian Macgowan and Chris Curling starred Catherine Zeta Jones, Saoirse Ronan and Guy Pearce was selected for the Toronto International Film Festival.
Gillian was ASDA’s first president. In 1993 she received an A.M. for distinguished services to the Australian Film Industry. She has been awarded the Dorothy Azner Directing Award at the Los Angeles Women in Film Crystal Awards, the Chauvel Award from the Brisbane International Film Festival for her contribution to the Australian Film Industry and the Women in Hollywood Icon Award in recognition of her contribution to the film industry. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Film from Swinburne University, a Doctor of Letters, honoris causa from the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney.
KATHERINE THOMSON WRITER Katherine Thomson is held in high esteem by the film, television and theatre community. She has excelled in all three art forms. For Gillian Armstrong she wrote the feature documentary Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst for which she won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award. Telemovies include House of Hancock (2015), Schapelle, Blackjack, Halifax fp; other television credits includeKilling Time, East West 101, Australia on Trial (documentary) Satisfaction, Darwin’s Brave New World (documentary), Something in the Air, Grass Roots, Murder Call, Mirror Mirror, Wildside and Fallen Angels, and the mini-series Answered by Fire.
Katherine has also excelled in the theatre world. Her award-winning plays include King Tide, Harbour, Wonderlands, Mavis Goes to Timor, Kayak, This Hospital is my Country, Fragments of Hong Kong, Navigating, A Sporting Chance, Diving for Pearls, Barmaids, Darlinghurst Nights, Tonight We Anchor in Twofold Bay and Change in the Weather.
DAMIEN PARERPRODUCER Shame-feature film. Director Steve Jodrell. Cast Deborra-Lee Furness, Tony Barry, Simone Buchanan. Distribution; Republic, Skouras, BBC. Awards; Certificate of Merit - Chicago International Film Festival and Deborra-Lee Furness won Best Actress from the Seattle International Film Festival. Australian Film Critics Circle Award for Best Screenplay and Best Actress.
Father-feature film. Director John Power. Cast; Max Von Sydow, Carol Drinkwater, Julia Blake. Distribution Left Bank, BBC, Atlas.
Awards; Australian Film Institute Awards - Max Von Sydow (Best Actor) and Julia Blake (Best Supporting Actress). Australian Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress - Carol Drinkwater.
Day of the Panther and Strike of the Panther- two feature films. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith. Cast; John Stanton, Rowena Wallace and Michael Carman. Distribution; New World Pictures, Nine Network.
Dead End Drive-In-feature film. Director Brian Trenchard-Smith. Cast: Ned Manning, Peter Whitford. Distribution; New World, Village Roadshow.
Rough Diamonds- feature film. Director Donald Crombie. Cast; Jason Donovan, Angie Milliken, Peter Phelps. Distribution Beyond Films, Southern Star, ITC, Seven Network.
Tracks of Glory- mini-series. Director Marcus Cole. Cast; Phil Morris, Cameron Daddo, Robert Vaughn. Distribution; Carolco, Paragon, Disney, Channel 4. Seven Network. Awards: Logies for Most Popular Mini-Series and Most Popular Actor in a Mini-Series (Cameron Daddo).
Grim Pickings- Mini-Series. Director Rick Pellizzeri. Cast; Liddy Clark, Lorraine Bayly, Max Cullen. Distribution; BBC, Nine Network.
Awards; Best Adaptation of a Mini-Series from the Australian Writers Guild.
Additionally Parer has produced 30 hours of TV drama and 15 documentaries.
Matthew and Son- telemovie- Dir. Gary Conway starring Nicole Kidman
ANNA HOWARD CINEMATOGRAPHER Anna Howard ACS started in the Australian Film Industry in 1981. After
studying cinematography at North Sydney Tafe, she quickly became a
camera assistant, working for some of Australia’s best cinematographers,
including Peter James ASC, ACS and Academy Award winners Russell Boyd
ASC, ACS, Andrew Lesnie ASC, ACS, and John Seale ASC, ACS.
In 1996 Anna started shooting her own projects and established herself as a
highly sought after Director of Photography in her own right. She’s well
known for her ability to work with actors. Her subtle lighting and eye has
caught the attention of many of the top directors in New Zealand and
Australia, including that of Ray Lawrence.
In the last ten years Anna has been busy working on many commercial and
film projects in both countries, winning awards for her lighting and images in
advertising and film.
Anna’s credits including feature films South Solitary and Hey Hey its Esther Blueburger and TV series Rake, Small Claims and Marking Time.
Anna was granted an ACS Accreditation in 2004.
NICHOLAS BEAUMANEDITOR Nicholas Beauman is one of Australia’s most acclaimed film editors and has been working nationally and internationally for more than 30 years. Over this time Nicholas has edited more than 40 feature films, documentaries, telemovies and short films with many celebrated directors, such as Roger Donaldson, Martin Campbell, Mark Joffe, Michael Blakemore, Terry George, Neil Armfield and in particular Gillian Armstrong. Key credits include 88, The God’s of Wheat Street, Carlotta, Love Lust and Lies, A Good Man, Death Defying Acts, Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst, Beyond Borders, Charlotte Gray, My Mother Frank, Siam Sunset, A Bright Shining Lie, Oscar and Lucinda, Cosi, Little Women, Traps, A Country Life, White Sands, The Last Days of Chez Nous, Spotswood, Blood Oath, High Tide, Mrs Soffel, Starstruck and My Brilliant Career. Nicholas is a member of the Motion Picture Editors’ Guild of America, Australian Screen Editors’ Guild and the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. He has been nominated seven times by the Australian Film Institute Awards for best editing and won two Australian Screen Editors’ Guild awards for best editing.
CEZARY SKUBISZEWSKI COMPOSER Cezary’s first film score was for the film Lilian’s Story, directed by fellow Pole Jerzy Domaradzki. He has since worked on many feature films including Two Hands, Death Defying Acts, Bran Nue Dae and Red Dog.
For his work on film music Cezary has received two AFI/AACTA awards and eight nominations. His score for Night received a nomination from The International Film Music Critics Association in 2009 (IFMCA)
Cezary composed ‘Home at Last Symphony’, musical theatre ‘Soundescape”, music for the contemporary ballet ‘Detoxy and recently on two occasions he was Musical Director for the APRA Screen Music Awards (2008 & 2011).
Cezary also composes music for many television series and programmes and also wrote music for advertising campaigns including the Sydney 2000
Olympics, Australian Football Finals, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games ,
Carlton Draught ‘Big Ad’ campaign and he recorded and conducted ‘VB Bottle Symphony’. Those two ads became a sensation all over the world.
Cezary also has contributed to the recordings of many well-known Australian rock, pop and jazz bands and artists. In 2003 Cezary received Centenary Medal for service to Australian Society and Australian Film Production and the 2010 Film Critics of Australia award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian Cinema
EDIE KURZER COSTUME DESIGN A highly experienced and sought after Costume Designer, Edie Kurzer has numerous credits across film, theatre, television and commercials. After completing her work on ORRY KELLY, Edie has just completed the 2 part mini-series SECRET RIVER (based on Kate Grenville's book of the same name) for ABC T.V In 2009 Edie collaborated with director Shirley Barrett, designing the period costumes on the feature film SOUTH SOLITARY (starring Miranda Otto). Some of her many other feature film credits include LOOK BOTH WAYS (written and directed by Sarah Watt); TEMPTED (directed by Bill Bennett and starring Burt Reynolds); IN A SAVAGE LAND (Bill Bennett) and THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE (directed by Cherie Nowlan and starring Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh and Frances O’Connor).
For television, Edie has designed the costumes for children’s TV series SNAKE TALES and the mini-series VIOLENT EARTH.
ROSS WALLACE PRODUCTION DESIGN Since graduating from NIDA in 1985 Ross has had an extensive career in theatre, film and events. His stage, screen and event credits include, Dance of Death, The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, The Crucible, Blood Relations, The Temple for the Sydney Theatre Company. He was the designer for the multi-media museum the Story of Sydney. Production Designer for Six Pack TV series for SBS television. Costume designer for feature film To Have and to Hold, and production designer for the film Redheads. Ross designed the Icon Parade for the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and production designer for the New Years Eve events on Sydney Harbour. Ross has won awards for many television commercials and has designed for over 20 years in the local and international marketplace.
Further research can be undertaken using data bases like Google, Wikipedia and imdb.com
American. Colleen won Oscars for three films- Alice in Wonderland, Memoirs of a Geisha, Chicago. Colleen received her first Oscar nomination for Gillian Armstrong’s Little Women. She has costume designed many Tim Burton films including Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Won 3 Oscars, 1 Emmy, 3 BAFTA, and 7 Costume Designers Guild.
KYM BARRETTCostume Designer Australian now based in Los Angeles. Australian credits- The Matrix Revolutions, Romeo + Juliet, US credits- The Green Hornet, Monster-in-Law, Cloud Atlas. 1 win German Film Awards, 5 nominations for Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, 3 nominations from Costume Designers Guild.
SCOTTY BOWERSBarman/ Fixer
American. Scotty arranged and had sexual liaisons with the famous of Hollywood. Author of ‘Full Service’. Scotty was a marine paratrooper who was picked up in the street by Orry-Kelly. They became lifelong friends. He was a bisexual satyr who slept with many famous people including Noel Coward, Vivien Leigh, Spencer Tracy, Edith Piaf, George Cukor, Cole Porter, and the Duke of Windsor. He arranged clandestine sexual liaisons for the Hollywood elite without personal financial gain- just for the fun of it. Scotty waited until his friends and acquaintances had died before publishing.
DAVID CHIERICHETTICostume Historian
American. Author of ‘Hollywood Costume Design’, ‘Edith Head: The Life and Times of Hollywood’s Celebrated Costume Designer’.
JUNE DALLY-WATKINS Ex-Model, Entrepreneur
Australian. In 1950 she started the Southern Hemisphere's first personal development school in Sydney to train young women in etiquette and deportment. As a young model Orry-Kelly befriended her and introduced her to the most famous people in Hollywood. She is the author of ‘Still Smiling’. June is still working full-time in her 90s.
MARC ELIOT Author
American. Author of ‘Cary Grant: A Biography’. Author of many books about Hollywood. Including ‘American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood’, ‘Michael Douglas: A Biography’ and ‘Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince’.
JANE FONDA Actor
American. Klute, Coming Home- both Oscar wins, Julia, The China Syndrome, On Golden Pond. Her Orry-Kelly films were The Chapman Report, In the Cool of the Day, and Sunday in New York. 2 Oscars, 7 Golden Globes, 1 Emmy, 2 BAFTA. Author of ‘My Life So Far’.
Grandniece of Orry-Kelly. Australian.
MRS FREEMAN GOSDEN
Widow of Freeman Gosden. American. Freeman was a writer and actor, known for Check and Double Check, The Amos 'n Andy Show and Calvin and the Colonel. The Freemans were close friends of Billy Haines and his partner Jimmy Shields and Jack and Ann Warner.
English. The Manchurian Candidate, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Gaslight, Murder, She Wrote. Her Orry-Kelly film- In the Cool of the Day. Won 1 Honorary Oscar, 6 Golden Globes, 16 Emmy nominations. Angela is still working full-time in her 80s.
LEONARD MALTINFilm Critic and Author
American. Author of ‘Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopaedia’, ‘Leonard Maltin’s Family Movie Guide’, ‘Hollywood: The Movie Factory’.
WILLIAM J MANN Author and Hollywood Historian. American. Author of ‘Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines’, ‘Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood’.
CATHERINE MARTIN Production Designer, Costume Designer
Australian. The Great Gatsby- won Oscars for Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Achievement in Production Design, Moulin Rouge!- won Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Romeo + Juliet, Australia, Strictly Ballroom. Won 4 Oscars, 3 BAFTA, 2 Art Directors Guild.
JEAN MATHISON Assistant to William Haines (actor then designer)
American. Jean was co-author of ‘Class Act: William Haines Legendary Hollywood Decorator’. Jean ran the decorator company for 30 years. She was friends with Orry-Kelly during the 1950s.
LARRY MCQUEEN Film Costume Historian American. Owner and restorer of a Hollywood costume collection including five Orry-Kelly costumes.
DEBORAH NADOOLMAN LANDIS PhD UCLA Professor and Costume Designer
American. Coming to America- Oscar nomination, The Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Blues Brothers, Three Amigos. Author of ‘Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design’, ‘Hollywood Costume’, ‘Hollywood Sketchbook: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design’. Nominated for 1 Oscar, 1 nomination Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Deborah is the curator of ‘Hollywood Costume’ an exhibition originating at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, toured to Melbourne’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image and current in the USA. Deborah is one of the world’s foremost experts on film costume.
ANN ROTHCostume Designer.
American. The English Patient- Oscar win, Lullaby, Hope Springs, Mamma Mia!, The Hours, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Places in the Heart, Midnight Cowboy, Klute. Won 1 Oscar, 1 BAFTA, 1 Costume Designers Guild. Nominated for 3 Emmys. Her costume design for The Book of Mormon can be seen currently on stage on Broadway. She is still working full-time in her 80s.
ERIC SHERMANProducer and Director American. Son of Director Vincent Sherman. Author of ‘Directing the Film’, ‘Selling the Film’. He is currently a media lecturer.
BARBARA WARNER HOWARD
Daughter of Jack and Ann Warner. American.
MICHAEL WILKINSON Costume Designer Australian based in Los Angeles. Australian credits-Looking for Alibrandi, True Love and Chaos, US credits- TRON: Legacy, 300, Babel, Noah, Man of Steel. American Hustle- Oscar nomination, Won 1 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, nominated for 1 Oscar, nominated for 1 BAFTA, 4 nominations Costume Designers Guild.
Further research can be undertaken using data bases like Google, Wikipedia and imdb.com
Ethel Barrymore. 1879- 1959. A leading actress of stage and screen. Nominated for 4 Oscars and won for supporting role in None but the Lonely Heart.
Busby Berkeley. 1895- 1976. One of the greatest film choreographers ever. Nominated for three Academy Awards. His films include, 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Gold Diggers of 1935, Footlight Parade, Wonder Bar and Dames.
Fanny Brice. 1891- 1951. Comic actress who started on the Broadway stage and moved to radio and television. After her death two films were based on her life, Funny Girl and Funny Lady. Fanny and Orry remained close friends from the New York days until her death.
The Brown Derby. Legendary restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Popular with show business folk from its opening in 1926. Co-owned by Robert H. ‘Bob’ Cobb. Bob invited Orry-Kelly to enjoy free meals when Orry was down on his luck.
Ruth Chatterton. 1892- 1961. Broadway actress who moved from Paramount to Warner Brothers in the 1930s. Jack Warner poached her. Ruth was the highest paid actress in Hollywood when Orry started at Warners in 1932. She was nominated for two Oscars.
George Cukor. 1899- 1983. Clandestine gay film director. Five Oscar nominations one win for My Fair Lady. His films include, The Philadelphia Story, Little Women, Holiday, Pat and Mike, Les Girls, The Chapman Report and Gaslight.
Marion Davies.1897- 1961. Ziegfeld star then actress of 48 films. Long-time girlfriend of William Randolph Hearst. See separate biography. Marion was one of Orry’s closest friends.
Bette Davis. 1908- 1989. Orry-Kelly designed many costumes for the actress. She joined Warner Bros in 1932 at the same time as Orry-Kelly. Davis was a major star for Warner Bros during the 1930s and 1940s. She was nominated for 10 Oscars and won for Dangerous and Jezebel. She and Orry were a close collaborative team for over 20 films.
Kay Francis. 1905- 1968. Popular film star named the ‘it’ girl of the 1930s. Called the Queen of Warner Brothers. Orry continued to design costumes for her even though she moved to B pictures.
Cary Grant. 1904- 1986. Changed his name from Archie Leach. See separate listing. His films include, Bringing Up Baby, Gunga Din, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, Notorious, To Catch a Thief and North By North West.
William (Billy) Haines 1900-1973. Popular silent film actor who quit acting in 1935 when MGM told him to give up his partner Jimmy Shields. Haines quit acting for love and became a very successful interior and furniture designer. He was commissioned to design for the US Embassy in London and for Ronald Reagan. His business partner was Jean Mathison. See separate biography.
Dorothy Hammerstein. 1899- 1987. Australian born interior designer and decorator. She was the second wife of the lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.
Hays Code. Named after the Motion Picture Production Code became strict with the moral policing of films. Banning homosexuality and restricting on screen kissing and many more screen depictions that were considered corrupting or decadent.
Edith Head. 1897- 1981. Costume Designer. Nominated for 28 Oscars. Won for The Sting, The Facts of Life, Sabrina, Roman Holiday, Carrie, A Place in the Sun, All About Eve, Samson and Delilah, The Heiress, All About Eve.
William Randolph Hearst. 1863- 1951. Millionaire newspaper tycoon. Entertained Hollywood cast and crew with lavish parties at his San Simeon castle. His long-time girlfriend was Marion Davies. See separate biography.
Hedda Hopper. 1885- 1966. Gossip columnist. Married to DeWolf Hopper. Hedda was a long- time friend of Orry-Kelly. They often socialised and Hedda had to get Orry out of trouble on occasions.
William Kelly. 1859- 1924. Orry-Kelly’s father. Originally from the Isle of Man. In Kiama he was a tailor and ran a men’s mercer and general outfitter shop called W. Kelly and Co retailing hats, ties and shirts for 40 years. A painting by young Orry was included in each custom-made wedding suit. He was a superior athlete particularly excelling in water sports.
Florence Kelly. 1871- 1949. Florence Evelyn Purdue married William and was his second wife. After his death she married Jack Hart and they moved to Parramatta in Sydney.
Orry Kelly. 1897- 1964. Christened Orry George Kelly. Born in Kiama, New South Wales. Named after the ancient king from the Isle of Man. In 1917 he moved to Sydney worked in a bank. Orry got his first break with a job in a theatrical revue. He soon found that the theatrical community and the underworld of Sydney was more his style and recorded the prostitutes and gangsters he was enchanted by in water colours. He then escaped to New York where, at first he tried acting, then survived selling hand painted ties, and later in the 1920s designed theatre sets and costumes for the Schubert Theatre Company. He shared an apartment with Archie Leach. See separate item. To survive they both ran a speakeasy. Orry and underworld gangster Belle Livingstone tried to set up a speakeasy in Reno with disastrous results. See separate item for Ms Livingstone. Orry’s big break came when he moved to Hollywood and, after many tough months, became a costume designer at Warner Brothers. He was quickly head of the costume department. Over his lifetime he designed for 285 films mainly for Warners. He won three Academy Awards for An American in Paris, Les Girls and Some Like It Hot. He was nominated for Gypsy. He died in Los Angeles.
Orry Carnation. William Kelly propagated the flower and named the carnation after his son Orry.
Archie Leach. Initially a stilt walking acrobat from Bristol England who toured to the USA with The Pender Troupe, decided to stay in New York and shared digs with Orry-Kelly through the 1920’s. Mrs Kelly would often send funds to help them both manage in their precarious careers. When he was contracted to Paramount in Los Angeles they changed his name to Cary Grant. See separate entry.
Belle Livingstone. Was a notorious con artist and later speakeasy owner in New York. She escaped New York with Orry intending to set up a casino in Reno.
Louis B Meyer. 1884- 1957. Long-time boss of M G M studios.
Louella Parsons. 1881- 1972. Gossip columnist during the boom years of Hollywood. Good friend of Orry’s. They attended industry events together. Orry designed clothes for Louella and she got him out of trouble when called on.
Walter Plunkett. 1902- 1978. Costume Designer who was nominated for the Oscar eight times and won once for An American in Paris shared with Irene Sharaff and Orry-Kelly.
Cole Porter. 1891- 1964. American song writer. Porter was one of Broadway’s most successful composers. His hit shows include Kiss Me, Kate, Anything Goes, Can-Can and Silk Stockings. Married but lived a clandestine gay life.
Rin Tin-Tin. 1918- 1932. German Shepherd dog. Starred in 27 films.
Robert ‘Bob’ Roberts. Bob was a builder, according to Scotty Bowers, and Orry’s partner during the 1950s. He and Orry visited George Cukor in London.
Randolph Scott. 1898- 1987. Film actor who appeared in 105 films. Was Cary Grant’s partner and roommate. They both got married to various women but that didn’t seem to interfere with their close relationship. See separate biography.
Vincent Sherman. 1891- 1964. Friends with Orry-Kelly in the New York theatre years. Moved to Hollywood and became a successful director of film and TV. His credits include, Mr Skeffington, Lone Star, Old Acquaintance, Baretta and Trapper John MD.
Ann Warner. 1908- 1990. Jack Warner’s second wife. Daughter Barbara Warner Howard. Ann was Orry’s closest friend and was at his bedside when he died.
Jack L. Warner. 1892- 1978. Head of Warner Brothers Studio in Los Angeles from 1923 to 1957. Second wife was Ann Warner. See separate biography. Daughter Barbara Warner Howard. See separate biography.
Orry-Kelly selected filmography
For the full listing go to www.imdb.com
1932, The Rich Are Always with Us/ Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Bette Davis/ Alfred E. Green
1932, The Cabin in the Cotton/ Richard Barthelmess, Bette Davis, Dorothy Jordan/ Michael Curtiz
1932, One Way Passage/ William Powell, Kay Francis, Frank McHugh/Tay Garnett
1932, 20,000 Years in Sing Sing/ Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Arthur Byron/ Michael Curtiz
1933, 42nd Street/ Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent/ Lloyd Bacon
1933, Gold Diggers of 1933/ Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon/ Mervyn LeRoy
1933, Baby Face/ Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Donald Cook/ Alfred E Green
1934, Mandalay/ Kay Francis, Ricardo Cortez, Warner Oland/ Michael Curtiz
1934, Fashions of 1934/ William Powell, Bette Davis, Frank McHugh/ William Dieterle
1934, Wonder Bar/ Al Jolson, Kay Francis, Dolores del Rio/ Lloyd Bacon
1934, Dames/ Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler/ Ray Enright, Busby Berkeley
1935, Gold Diggers of 1935/ Dick Powell, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria Stuart/ Busby Berkeley
1936, Gold Diggers of 1937/ Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell/ Lloyd Bacon
1936, The Petrified Forest/ Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis/ Archie l Mayo
1937, Kid Galahad/ Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart/ Michael Curtiz
1938, Jezebel/ Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent/ William Wyler
1939, The Oklahoma Kid/ James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane/ Lloyd Bacon
1939, Dark Victory/ Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart/ Edmund Goulding
1939, Juarez/ Paul Muni, Bette Davis, Brian Aherne/ William Dieterle
1939, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex/ Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland/ Michael Curtiz
1940, The Letter/ Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson/ William Wyler
1941, The Little Foxes/ Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, Teresa Wright/ William Wyler
1941, The Maltese Falcon/ Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George/ John Huston
1942, Kings Row/ Ann Sheridan, Robert Cummings, Ronald Reagan/ Sam Wood
1942, Now, Voyager/ Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains/ Irving Rapper
1942, Casablanca/ Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid/ Michael Curtiz
1943, This Is the Army/ George Murphy, Joan Leslie, George Tobias/ Michael Curtiz
1943, Old Acquaintance/ Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young/ Vincent Sherman
1944, Mr Skeffington/ Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Walter Abel/ Vincent Sherman
1944, Arsenic and Old Lace/ Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey/ Frank Capra
1945, The Corn is Green/ Bette Davis, John Dall, Nigel Bruce/ Irving Rapper
1945, The Dolly Sisters/ Betty Grable, John Payne, June Haver/ Irving Cummings
1951, An American in Paris/ Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant/ Vincente Minnelli
Academy Award win, Best Costume Design, color
1955, Oklahoma!/ Gordon MacRae, Gloria Grahame, Gene Nelson/ Fred Zinnermann
1957, Les Girls/ Gene Kelly, Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall/ George Cukor