Robert Gordon Mackie (born March 24, 1939), is an American fashion designer and costumer, best known for his dressing of entertainment icons such as Joan Rivers, Cher, RuPaul, Barbara Eden, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, Carol Burnett, and Mitzi Gaynor. He was the costume designer for Carol Burnett on The Carol Burnett Show during its entire 11-year run and designed the costumes for its spinoff, Mama's Family, and for the 1993 television adaptation of Gypsy.
Robert Gordon Mackie
March 24, 1939
|Education||Rosemead High School|
|Alma mater||Pasadena City College|
Chouinard Art Institute
|Occupation||Fashion designer, costumer|
(m. 1960; div. 1963)
(1963–2011; his death)
Mackie was born in Monterey Park, California, to Charles Robert Smith and Mildred Agnes Smith. He attended Rosemead High School class of 1957, Pasadena City College and Chouinard Art Institute but left without earning a degree from either school.
Mackie began his career as a sketch artist for legendary French haute couturier Jean Louis, who is perhaps best known for crafting stage gowns worn by screen legend Marlene Dietrich during her career as a cabaret singer. Mackie and future life partner Ray Aghayan worked with legendary costumer Edith Head in 1961 while working as a novice designer at Paramount Studios. In 1969, Mackie was hired to design costumes for Diana Ross, The Supremes, and The Temptations in the television special GIT: On Broadway.
In 1972, he and Aghayan were nominated for Best Costume Design for Lady Sings The Blues, starring Diana Ross. Mackie and Diana Ross continued their collaborative efforts well into the 21st century, with Mackie designing stage costumes for Ross' 2010 More Today Than Yesterday: The Greatest Hits Tour.
Mackie designed costumes for the Las Vegas Strip-based burlesque shows, Hallelujah Hollywood, which was inspired by the Ziegfeld Follies and ran at the MGM Grand (now Bally's Las Vegas) from 1974 to 1980, and Jubilee!, which ran from 1981 to 2016. Both productions involve intricate, elaborate costumes and grandiose sets.
Images of many of Mackie's design drawings for these productions are available in the "Showgirls" collection from UNLV Libraries Digital Collections. He created the costumes for Cher’s 2008–11 Las Vegas Cher at the Colosseum residency at Caesars Palace, as well as for her 2017 “Classic Cher” shows in Las Vegas and Washington D.C.
Two of Mackie's best-remembered creations had a humorous aspect. While working on The Carol Burnett Show, he designed a "curtain dress" (complete with a curtain rod across the shoulders) that Carol Burnett wore in Went with the Wind!, a parody of Gone with the Wind. He designed the exotic ensemble worn by Cher at the March 1986 Academy Awards: black stretch pants, a bejeweled loincloth, knee-high boots, a black chainlink top, and a huge feathered Mohawk headdress that was one and a half times taller than her head. Introduced by Jane Fonda with the words, "Wait'll you see what's gonna come out here". "As you can see," said Cher, "I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress."
Mackie designed costumes for Whitney Houston, especially splashy evening gowns which she wore for many years during concert tours and award shows. He was often referred to as "the sultan of sequins" or "the rajah of rhinestones", known for his sparkling and imaginative costume designs. He has won nine Emmy Awards for his designs, and has been nominated three times for an Academy Award.
On March 14, 1960, Mackie married LuLu Porter (née Marianne Wolford), a singer, actress, and later an acting teacher. The couple had a son, Robert Gordon Mackie Jr. (known as "Robin"), the previous year. The couple divorced in 1963. Robin Mackie, a makeup artist, died in 1994 of an AIDS-related illness, predeceasing his parents.
Mackie's life partner was costume designer Ray Aghayan, whom Mackie had started working with as an assistant. The two worked together through the 1970s, as well as having separate clients. They remained together until Aghayan's death in 2011.
Robert Mackie (7 September 1884 – 1943) was a Scottish professional football full back who played in the Scottish League for Airdrieonians, Third Lanark and Heart of Midlothian. He also played in the Football League for Chelsea and Leicester Fosse.Diana!
Diana! is the first solo television special of American singer Diana Ross and aired on ABC on April 18, 1971. The special was choreographed by David Winters of West Side Story fame, who at that time choreographed all of Ross' stage and television shows. The special featured performances by The Jackson 5, and also included Jackson 5 lead singer Michael Jackson's solo debut. Michael Jackson performed Frank Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year", which drew laughter as its adult-themed lyrics were changed to fit his age. Other guests included Danny Thomas and Bill Cosby, who would be featured on a similar television special by the Jackson 5 (Goin' Back to Indiana) a few months later.
Since this was right at the beginning of her solo career, she took the opportunity to promote the two hits from her debut, the gold audience participant "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" and the number 1 song "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". She also performed a cover of The Carpenters "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and the top-20 gold single "Remember Me" released that previous December 1970 included on her forthcoming album "Surrender" to be released later that summer. (Though she performed "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)" on the special, it was not included on the soundtrack).
The television special, and its subsequent soundtrack, was a Neilsen's ratings winner, hitting the top 20 (number 17) of shows that week and garnering Emmy nominations for Ross and Bob Mackie and in technical categories.Live in Concert (video)
Live in Concert is the second live music video title by singer and actress Cher. Released by HBO in 1999, it contained footage from Cher's Do You Believe? Tour specials filmed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada in 1999. It featured tracks from the Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves album to the Believe album, alongside various covers. She has 7 costume changes by stylist Bob Mackie.
The video was certified Platinum in the UK and Brazil, and 2× Platinum in Australia.Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special
The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special is a retired award that was presented as part of the Primetime Emmy Awards. Until 1999, the category was divided to award costume designers and costume supervisors separately.
In 2015, this category and Outstanding Costumes for a Series were rearranged as Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series, or Movie and Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series, or Movie.Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Series
The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Series is a retired award that was presented as part of the Primetime Emmy Awards. In 2015, this category and Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special were rearranged as Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series, or Movie and Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series, or Movie.Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming
The Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Nonfiction, or Reality Programming is presented as part of the Primetime Emmy Awards. To be eligible, the costumes must have been designed specifically for television.Ray Aghayan
Gorgen Ray Aghayan (July 28, 1928 – October 10, 2011) was a costume designer in the United States film industry. He won an Emmy Award in 1967 with his partner Bob Mackie for his work in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Aghayan was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design three times for his work in Gaily, Gaily in 1970, Lady Sings the Blues in 1973 and Funny Lady in 1976. He was also responsible for designing the costumes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles. Aghayan was the lifetime partner of costume designer Bob Mackie for nearly 50 years.The Cher Show (musical)
The Cher Show is a jukebox musical with a book by Rick Elice that tells the story of the early life and career of Cher. The musical had its world premiere at the Oriental Theatre, Chicago, in June 12, 2018, and opened on Broadway in December 2018.
Television Hall of Fame Class of 2002