The joke in Hollywood was “She gives great costumes!”  How much did you know about the legendary designer?

Yup, that’s Grace Kelly with Edith above, presumably going over designs for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 thriller, Rear Widow. Head designed for a galaxy of leading ladies including, just to name a few, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, Dorothy Lamour, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and Bette Davis. 

Ok, let’s see how much you ACTUALLY know about Edith Head. Here we go:

1) Question: Costume designer Head nabbed an astounding 35 Oscar nominations over the years. But how many Oscars did she actually win? a) Five; b) Two; c) 12; or d) Eight.

Answer:  Head won a total of (d) eight Oscars for her work, a record. Her first was for 1949’s The Heiress, and the last was for 1973’s The Sting.

2) Question:  Head was known for her tiny frame, perpetual scowl and for sporting dark blue-tinted glasses.  Why did she wear the specs?  a) To correct a long standing eye condition; b) To look hip and with it; c) To avoid harsh light; or d) To improve her understanding of how costumes would look in black and white.

Answer: d) In order to better understand how her colorful costumes would look in the days of black and white, Head originally took to sporting her dark glasses. She liked the look and continued to wear them when color came in.

3) Question: Which one of these actresses was famously NOT dressed by Edith Head?  Gloria Swanson; b) Grace Kelly; c) Elizabeth Taylor; or d) Audrey Hepburn. 

 Answer:  Somewhat to Head’s frustration, (d) Audrey Hepburn insisted on being dressed by French designer Hubert de Givenchy.

4) Question: Head always approached her work with non-nonsense efficiency and respect for the bottom line.  But what quality really cemented her relationships with so many female stars? a) Her easy access to studio bosses; b) Her relative homeliness; c) Her adoption of the role of confessor-therapist; d) None of the above.

Answer:  c) Head was renowned for making special connections with the leading actresses she dressed. She knew their insecurities and eccentricities. The stars told her everything, and Head kept a confidence.

5) Question: In 1959, Head’s autobiography, The Dress Doctor, was published. How many copies of the book were sold?  a) 10,000; b) 500,000; c) 8.5 million; or d) under 20,000.

Answer: c) The book sold 8.5 million copies, making Head (as The Hollywood Reporter put it) a STAR.

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