Growing up in sleepy Kiama on the NSW coast, Orry-Kelly was a 21-year-old budding actor when he bravely set sail for the United States. Sharing digs in New York with another aspiring actor, Cary Grant, he eked out a living painting murals for speakeasies before trying his hand at set and costume design on Broadway. Moving to Hollywood in the 1930s, Orry worked tirelessly to become chief costume designer at Warner Bros. where he established a career-defining collaboration with Bette Davis.
Orry received Academy recognition late in life, winning Oscars® for An American In Paris (1951), Les Girls (1957) and Some Like It Hot (1959). Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood contains all three of Orry’s Oscars®, presented alongside rarely-seen costumes, sketches, paintings, production photos, publicity materials and more.
The exhibition coincides with the release of celebrated filmmaker Gillian Armstrong’s feature-length documentary Women He’s Undressed (2015), screening at ACMI as part of Australian Perspectives. Orry-Kelly’s rediscovered memoir, a treasure trove of Hollywood memories and secrets, is available for purchase through the ACMI Shop.
Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood
18 Aug - 17 Jan
Winner of three Academy Awards®, Australian costume designer Orry-Kelly created magic on screen, from Casablanca (1942) to Some Like it Hot (1959). Working on a staggering 295 films, he lived a colourful life, on and off the set. Featuring original costumes, Oscar® statues, sketches and more, this exhibition, the first ever to celebrate Orry-Kelly’s life and career, pays tribute to a legendary Hollywood costume designer and genuine Aussie larrikin.