Birthplace: Monterey Park, California
Awards: Emmy Award, 1967, 1969, 1976, 1978, 1985 Costume Designers Guild, Fashion Award, 1975 Oscar Award, 1968, 1972, 1981
Bob Mackie, inspired by visits to the local movie theater, started fantasizing about clothing at an early age. Mackie attended college until the age of twenty-two, when he quit to focus on his dream, designing costumes. Mackie's first job was for Frank Thompson, a costume designer at Paramount Studios, where he sketched costume designs. Mackie was also able to work with renowned costume designer Edith Head from 1960 to 1963.
The exposure and experience Mackie gained by working at Paramount Studios enabled him to land a position as assistant designer to Ray Aghayan for the Judy Garland Show on television. The position gave Mackie his first screen credit and launched his career. As a result of his association with the Judy Garland Show and Aghayan, Mackie was able to work on the costume designs for the television movie Alice Through the Looking Glass, and he created costumes for The King Family Show in 1965. He also designed costumes for Mitzi Gaynor's nightclub acts in 1966 and formed a partnership with Ray Aghayan and Elizabeth Courtney to design clothing for Mackie's Beverly Hills boutique.
In 1967 television star Carol Burnette took notice of Mackie's work and hired him to design costumes for her show. Mackie was very successful in developing costumes that conveyed the characteristics of the various characters in the sketches for The Carol Burnette Show. While still designing for The Carol Burnette Show, Mackie was asked to design costumes for the Sonny and Cher Show and later for the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. For a decade, from 1967 to 1977, Mackie designed extravagant costumes with lots of beading and embellishment for Cher. Mackie continued to design the wardrobes for The Carol Burnette Show until it ended in 1978. After the show ended, Mackie designed costumes for the stars of such film classics as Barbara Streisand in Funny Lady (1968), Bernadette Peters in Pennies from Heaven (1981), and Dianna Ross in Lady Sings the Blues (1972). For each of these productions, Mackie was awarded the Oscar for Best Costuming, and he earned the nickname "Mr. Show Business."
Despite a hectic film and television schedule, Mackie still found time to venture into other areas of fashion design. In 1976 he designed a line of swimwear for Cole of California, in 1979 he wrote a book called Dressing for Glamour, and in 1982 he launched a ready-to-wear line with the manufacturer the Re-Ho Group. In 1988 Mackie entered into a licensing agreement with Diamond Bridal Collection, Ltd., to produce a line of bridal dresses. The agreement lasted for three years, until 1991, when Mackie decided to produce the line himself. That same year, Mackie signed an agreement with the Pedre Watch Company to produce his new jewelry line.
Throughout the 1990s, Mackie continued to pursue new ventures and licensing agreements for his designs. Mackie join the QVC craze in 1994 to sell his men's and women's accessories. Also in 1994 Mackie launched a line of men's tailored clothing and a holiday collection through the Men's Apparel Group. The next year, in 1995, Mackie formed licensing agreements with Henry Craig, Ltd., for neckwear and San Siro Shirtmakers for dress shirts, and he entered into a joint venture with Abraham Talass and United Designers to manufacture his evening wear and cocktail line. Mackie also added a coat and suit line for spring 1997 through the manufacturer Lavan Fashion, Inc. By the late 1990s, Mackie had accumulated over fifteen licensing agreements, including perfumes by Riviera Concepts, furs by Corniche Furs, Abraham Talass, Inc., for bridge dresses, Lai Apparel for scarves, Creative Optics, Inc., for eyewear, American Drew for home collection, and several others. He also entered into some licensing agreement for some rather unusual product lines including a collection of Barbies for Mattel, jewelry for the Franklin Mint, Barbie collectible plates, music boxes and figurines for Enesco Corporation, and stationery for Padre Publishing.
In 1999 Mackie decided to convert his ready-to-wear line to a made-to-order line. He also created and developed a line of furniture and lighting fixtures for QVC, where he still promotes his men's and women's accessories and women's blouses. Mackie still continues to do what he is most noted for, creating glamorous costumes for the stars. His work in the the ater and the cinema has won him thirty Emmy Award nominations, seven Emmy Awards, and three Oscar Awards.
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