Original Name Irene Lentz
South Dakota, USA
Death 15 Nov 1962 (aged 60)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Great Mausoleum, Florentine Columbarium, Niche 8032
Memorial ID 13016 · View Source
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Costume Designer. Born Irene Lentz in Baker, Montana, she traveled to California while still a teen, and appeared in a number of small roles in the infancy of silent film, appearing in support roles in Mack Sennett productions as early as 1921. She eventually married her director F. Richard Jones, becoming his third wife. Less than a year later, however, Jones died at 37 due to complications from what was likely tuberculosis. After his death, she opened up her own dress shop, earning recognition as a stylist. She was invited to work at Bullocks Wilshire department store, working in the Ladies Custom Salon as a dressmaker where her clients included the Hollywood elite. In 1933 while still an unknown, was commissioned to design the costumes for Lily Damita in the film "Goldie Gets Along" and actress Dolores Del Rio requested all of her costumes "Flying Down to Rio" from her as well. Accounted among her early successes was as designer for Ginger Rogers in the 1937 "Shall We Dance." Suddenly in demand, she freelanced, creating her "Irene" designs for such Hollywood luminaries as Constance Bennet, Hedy Lemarr, Claudette Colbert, Carol Lombard, and Ingrid Bergman. In 1942 she was hired to replace Gilbert Adrian after he resigned as Executive Designer for MGM Studios. During her tenure from 1942 to 1949, she served as costume designer and costume supervisor on more than a hundred and fifty films, including "Gaslight," "The Picture of Dorian Grey," "Easter Parade," "The Pirate," and she earned an Academy Award nomination in 1948 for her costume designs in "B.F.'s Daughter." During her time at MGM she met and married writer Eliot Gibbons, but it was to prove an unhappy union. In 1947, she began marketing her own label; "Irene, Inc." that was closely tied to the studio, and which allowed 20 high-end stores to have exclusive rights to her designs. Her clothing and her costumes developed a reputation for being very expensive, a costume she designed for Marlene Dietrich in 1944's "Kismet" was made entirely of hundreds of tiny gold chains which unfortunately tended to fall apart when performed in. Studio head, Louis B. Mayer, felt that she was wasting too much money, and by 1950 she had left MGM to open her own fashion house. In 1960, her friend Doris Day requested her skills for the Universal production, "Midnight Lace" for which she earned a second Academy Award nomination. She designed for Day again the following year for "Lover Come Back." During 1962, she worked on her final film, "A Gathering of Eagles" when, according to Doris Day's memoir, she confided that she had not been herself since the death of Gary Cooper the previous year, whom she avowed to have loved. In November 1962, three weeks before her 62 birthday, she took a room at the famed Knickerbocker Hotel in Los Angeles under an assumed name, and jumped to her death from a window. She left notes for friends and family, and for the hotel residents, to whom she apologized for any inconvenience her death might cause. She was interred beside her first husband. In 2005, she was inducted into the Costume Designers Guild's Anne Cole Hall of Fame.

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 15 Oct 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13016
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Irene (15 Dec 1901–15 Nov 1962), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13016, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .