Born: July 21, 1902 in Port Arthur, Texas
Died: Oct. 17, 1986
Hollywood costume designer Leah Rhodes began her career as a window designer in Port Arthur and San Antonio. She and her husband, James Glasier, moved to California in 1926, and she began her studio career in the wardrobe department of Warner Brothers. A few months later, she became a shopper for the workshop's designers, then became assistant to the head designer, Orry Kelly. When Kelly was drafted in 1942, Rhodes took over as stylist for Old Acquaintance, starring Bette Davis.
Rhodes went on to dress many of the big Warner Brothers stars, including Ingrid Bergman, Hedy Lamarr, Viveca Lindfors, Doris Day, and Jane Wyman. In 1948, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences elected to hand out two costuming awards for the first time-one for color and one for black and white. Rhodes won the first Oscar for Best Color Costume Design for her work in The Adventures of Don Juan, starring Viveca Lindfors and Errol Flynn. She left Warner's in 1952 to freelance, working for Universal Studios and Paramount, where she worked closely with designer Edith Head, one of the most famous costume designers in Hollywood.
Rhodes was passionate about her work and continued to create costumes until she was in her 80s. Her Oscar statuette can be viewed at the Museum of the Gulf Coast.