Airdate: Women He’s Undressed

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Later this month Showcase will premiere the documentary Women He’s Undressed.

The Gillian Armstrong film tells the story of Aussie costumier Orry George Kelly, who designed for Hollywood stars including Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner and Barbara Stanwyck.

This is presented as a docudrama with Darren Gilshenan portraying Orry-Kelly. It includes interviews with Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury and more.

He won three Academy Awards. And in the country he comes from, that’s a helluva achievement. But almost no-one has ever heard of him.

Orry-Kelly, the boy from the small coastal fishing village of Kiama, ran from the sheltered shores of Australia to chance his luck in the anything goes world of New York, but he would soon find himself seduced by the bright lights and big dreams of Hollywood, where his unbounded wit and talent would lead him to design gowns that lit up the golden age of cinema, his journey finally brought to life in Gillian Armstrong’s, Women He’s Undressed.

An up close and personal look at the life of one of the silver screen’s most talented costume designers, Orry was as big a legend behind the scenes as the on-screen legends he adoringly dressed. But who was Orry-Kelly? Talented, daring, brash, bold, the toast of Hollywood yet the thorn in the side of many a studio head and the first Australian to win three Academy Awards – how could he be so unknown in his homeland?

Now Gillian is taking us behind the scenes of Hollywood, with a little help from some of Orry’s long-time friends and colleagues, to reveal one of tinsel town’s best kept secrets and bring home the story of the boy from Kiama – friend and confidante to the screen greats of Hollywood’s golden age and a designer whose costumes created some of the most magical moments in cinema history.

8.30pm Sunday February 28 on Showcase.

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