Published: 1 November 2015
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Orry Kelly: Miss Weston's Protégé
By Robert Parkinson
Orry Kelly: Miss Weston’s Protégé tells the incredible story of one of Hollywood’s greatest designers. Using never before seen materials, photographs and letters, Robert Parkinson has compiled years of research into one of the most detailed accounts of Orry Kelly’s history.
Born in Kiama in December 1897 Orry Kelly moved to Sydney as a young man to seek a theatrical career and to study painting. Though unsuccessful on the stage he could not be dissuaded from his dream of stage fame. Eleanor Weston, a well-known Kiama businesswoman, encouraged Kelly to move to the US where he found his calling designing scenes and costume for film, television and the stage.
Over the course of his career Orry Kelly worked for all of the major studios, including Warner Brothers, Paramount and Fox, dressing many of the well-known female stars in some 312 films.
Though always widely renowned in Hollywood, Kelly did not gain his fame in Australia until after his death in 1964. As biographies of movie stars began to appear in the 1980s his fashion styling and costume design came to be highly regarded and worthy of study across several universities and colleges.