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Ray Aghayan obituary

Oscar-nominated costume designer who dressed Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand

Now that television talent contests are gussied up to Vegas standards, it's less easy to appreciate the discreet glamour that was the speciality of Ray Aghayan, who has died aged 83. But for 60 years, he guaranteed that difficult divas would arrive on screens and stages projecting perfection. Glamour was so much his habitat that he supervised over a dozen Oscar shows.

His initial diva, he remembered, was even more terrifying than Barbra Streisand: Princess Fawzia of Egypt, first wife of the last Shah of Iran, a woman of movie appearance and wilfulness. Aghayan came from an Armenian family in Tehran, and his widowed mother, Yasmine, designed clothes for the ruling Pahlavi family; the boy, starstruck by Hollywood, was certain he, too, could create, and the amused Fawzia summoned him via her ladies in waiting. She explained to him that she had to wear mourning dress,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ray Aghayan obituary

Award-winning costume designer who dressed Judy Garland and Diana Ross and oversaw the Oscar red carpet

Now that television talent contests are gussied up to Vegas standards, it's less easy to appreciate the discreet glamour that was the speciality of Ray Aghayan, who has died aged 83. But for 60 years, he guaranteed that difficult divas would arrive on screens and stages projecting perfection. Glamour was so much his habitat, he supervised over a dozen Oscar shows.

His initial diva, he remembered, was even more terrifying than Barbra Streisand: Princess Fawzia of Egypt, first wife of the last Shah of Iran, a woman of movie appearance and wilfulness. Aghayan came from an Armenian family in Tehran, and his widowed mother, Yasmine, designed clothes for the ruling Pahlavi family; the boy, starstruck by Hollywood, was certain he, too, could create, and the amused Fawzia summoned him via her ladies in waiting. She
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Emmy-Winning Costume Designer Ray Aghayan Dies

  • The Wrap
Ray Aghayan, who won the first Emmy awarded for costume design, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 83. Aghayan, who dressed stars like Judy Garland, Cher, Diana Ross, Lucille Ball, The Jackson Five and Barbra Streisand, was nominated for three Oscars for his costuming work, beginning with the 1969 Norman Jewison comedy "Gaily, Gaily." He also received Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design for "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Funny Lady." Read more: 'Harry Potter' Designer Caught in Costume Controversy Aghayan's last two Oscar nominations, along with his first Emmy win --
See full article at The Wrap »

Emmy-Winning Costume Designer Ray Aghayan Dies

  • The Wrap
Ray Aghayan, who won the first Emmy awarded for costume design, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 83. Aghayan, who dressed stars like Judy Garland, Cher, Diana Ross, Lucille Ball, The Jackson Five and Barbra Streisand, was nominated for three Oscars for his costuming work, beginning with the 1969 Norman Jewison comedy "Gaily, Gaily." He also received Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design for "Lady Sings the Blues" and "Funny Lady." Read more: 'Harry Potter' Designer Caught in Costume Controversy Aghayan's last two Oscar nominations, along with his first Emmy win --
See full article at The Wrap »

Blades of Glory

This review was written for the theatrical release of "Blades of Glory". The blissfully silly "Blades of Glory" is one of those rare comedies that puts a goofy smile on your face with the premise alone -- Will Ferrell and Jon Heder playing the world's first competitive male pairs figure skaters -- and keeps it planted there right until its wacky finale.

Co-directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, probably best known for those popular Geico caveman commercials, have made a highly agreeable feature debut capturing the energetic irreverence of early Farrelly brothers.

With Ferrell's legions of Ricky Bobby fans already primed to go along for the ride, the Paramount release should cut some glorious figures at the boxoffice for weeks to come.

Having already parodied NASCAR drivers and soccer dads, it was probably only a matter of time before Ferrell got around to skewering figure skaters, but he does it up right as Chazz Michael Michaels, a swaggering rocker on ice with grungy black hair who finds himself banned from the sport after getting into a brawl with his rival, the narcissistic but naive Jimmy MacElroy (Heder).

Stripped of their gold medals, Michaels and MacElroy are having a tough time surviving in the real world. The perpetually soused Chazz takes refuge under an evil wizard suit in a kids ice revue, while Jimmy gets a job in the shoe department of a sporting goods store.

But when a former stalker of Jimmy's (Nick Swardson) points out a loophole in the figure skating rule book, the two previous foes join forces, much to the chagrin of reigning sibling champs, the diabolical Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (real-life husband and wife Will Arnett and Amy Poehler).

Working from an inspired script credited to brothers Jeff Cox and Craig Cox, as well as John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky ("King of the Hill"), Speck and Gordon maintain a comfortable pace while coaxing terrific performances from their game cast.

In addition to the pitch-perfect Ferrell (in a role originally meant for Ben Stiller) and no-slouch Heder (making good on that "Napoleon Dynamite" promise), the rest of the cast cuts a comic swath both on and off the ice.

Also proving to be good sports are Scott Hamilton, Sasha Cohen, Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming, all on hand to deflate some of the self-seriousness known to go along with the turf.

Tech aspects are uniformly smoothly executed. Montreal's Olympic Stadium and architecturally prominent Habitat '67 are captured to notable effect by cinematographer Stefan Czapsky ("Ed Wood"), while veteran costume designer Julie Weiss has truly outdone herself with all those over-the-top Lycra creations, getting a little help from the Bob Mackie, Bill Hargate and Ray Aghayan houses.

Also credit skating choreographer Sarah Kawahara for routines that are anything but routine and "American Idol" runner-up Bo Bice, who puts the right anthemic arena rock spin on the titular closing theme song.

BLADES OF GLORY

Paramount Pictures

DreamWorks Pictures presents a Red Hour/Smart Entertainment production

Credits:

Directors: Will Speck & Josh Gordon

Screenwriters: Jeff Cox & Craig Cox and John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky

Story: Craig Cox & Jeff Cox & Busy Philipps

Producers: Ben Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, John Jacobs

Executive producer: Marty Ewing

Director of photography: Stefan Czapsky

Production designer: Stephen Lineweaver

Editor: Richard Pearson

Costume designer: Julie Weiss

Music: Theodore Shapiro

Cast:

Chazz Michael Michaels: Will Ferrell

Jimmy MacElroy: Jon Heder

Stranz Van Waldenberg: Will Arnett

Fairchild Van Waldenberg: Amy Poehler

Coach: Craig T. Nelson

Katie Van Waldenberg: Jenna Fischer

Darren MacElroy: William Fichtner

Hector: Nick Swardson

Running time -- 94 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13

See also

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