May Routh, a costume designer whose work appeared in films such as “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” “Being There” and “My Favorite Year,” died June 1. She was 87.
Routh died at her home in Los Angeles, Bryony Foster, a set director and spokesperson for the family, told The Hollywood Reporter.
According to her death notice, Ida May Routh was born in India on July 7, 1934.
Routh did several projects with director John Frankenheimer, starting with the 1996 Civil War-set “Andersonville” and “George Wallace” the following year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She received Emmy nominations for “Andersonville” and the 1991 project “Lucy & Desi: Before the Laughter,” the entertainment outlet reported.
Routh earned her first screen credit in 1976 when she designed costumes for “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” which starred David Bowie.
“I designed (one) costume (used early in the film) that was made of this strange fabric, it was like a woven plastic that was about a half-inch thick,” Routh said in an interview. “It was a gray substance, and I thought that would be very good because (Bowie’s character) was somebody who was weightless and could hurt himself bumping into things.”
For “Being There,” Routh designed the 1920s clothes of the English gentleman character played by Peter Sellers.
In a 2019 interview on YouTube, Routh said that she got the job as the film’s costume designer when Ann Roth turned down the chance to work with Sellers.
Routh grew up in Jabalpur, India, and attended boarding school in England, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She graduated from St. Martin’s School of Art in London before working as a model and fashion illustrator.
Routh was also a member of the Costume Designers Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She taught at Woodbury University in Burbank and mentored design students, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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