Orry-Kelly: The Man Who Dressed Sugar

The Australian-born costume designer, Jack Orry-Kelly, created Marilyn’s peekaboo wardrobe for her unforgettable role as Sugar Kane in Some Like it Hot. He also wrote an unpublished memoir, and is the subject of a forthcoming documentary, directed by Gillian Armstrong, reports The Age.

“”It’s the story of this boy from Kiama who always had a visual flair and interest in theatre,’ Armstrong says. ”He was very well known in the ’30s and ’40s … He was a great wit, quite outspoken. They say in America that people either loved or hated him.’

While researching the film, Armstrong and writer Katherine Thomson have discovered that Orry-Kelly wrote a memoir, wittily titled Women I’ve Undressed.

While he once wrote that the publishers loved the book, it never reached print – reputedly because of legal issues.

Just one chapter that he sent to a friend survives, featuring observations about Hollywood history.

Armstrong believes the sole copy of the full manuscript was passed down through Kelly’s family to a relative named Ephraim Manasseh, who has been impossible to track down.

”It still exists somewhere,” says Armstrong, who believes the memoir will be a treasure trove of Hollywood memories and secrets if they can find it.”

You can read more about Kelly’s work with MM in the recently-published Marilyn in Fashion.

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