Walter Plunkett was a prolific costume designer who worked on more than 150 projects throughout his career in the Hollywood film industry.
Plunkett is well known for his designs for the following Gone with the wind, Singing in the rain, Stagecoach, Forbidden planet and many more.
Walter Plunkett was born June 5 1902, While studying Law at the University of California he made a quick change of interest when he found himself enjoying his involvement with the campus’ theatrical group.
In 1925 when Plunkett first arrived in Hollywood he held delusions of movie stardom. While he was eager to hold more substantial roles in stock and vaudeville, the best he could do to contribute to the movies was the occasional bit or extras part.
His career got a real kick-start with his first credit job as a costume designer in the 1927 film “Hard-Boild Haggerty”
Through the kindness of an old friend, Costumer Howard Greer, forwarded Walter Plunkett a job at Joseph P. Kennedy’s FBO studios.
By the time FBO became RKO Radio in 1929, Plunkett had worked up to the position of designer, working on such earlier RKO productions as Rio Rita (1929), Morning Glory (1933) and Flying Down to Rio (1933).
Freelancing after 1937, He designed for such independents as Hal Roach, Walter Wanger, Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick.
Thanks to Swlznick, Plunkett undertook his most ambitious assignment; Designing all costumes and uniforms for the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind.
Although He did not receive an award for his extraordinary efforts for Gone with the wind, as there was no category in the academy for costume designer during the time.
Twelve years later he shared an Academy Award with Orry-Kelly and Irene for An American in Paris (1951).
David. O Selznick himself said that if there were a category for costume designer all those year back, Walter Plunkett would have won it for Gone With The Wind.
After working in famous films, big broadway and the magnificent metropolitan Opera. Plunkett decided it was time to retire out of the wonderful world of design in 1966.
He passed away in March 8 1982 at the age of seventy-nine, leaving a remarkable design footprint.
Shortly before his death, Walter Plunkett personally refurbished the original dresses in the David O. Selznick Archive. These dresses, however, were made to last for as long as it would take to shoot the film and are still extremely fragile. However reproductions of the dresses were made in 1987 and are also housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre.