‘Star Wars’ costume designer John Mollo passes away at 86
The man behind Darth Vader’s costume died on Oct. 25, Wednesday, at age 86. John Mollo was born on March 18, 1931. He passed away from the effects of vascular dementia.
Mollo met George Lucas at Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, according to The Times. He had been invited to spend the Christmas of 1975 to discuss what would eventually become “Star Wars”.
By 1976, Mollo met regularly with Lucas to discuss more ideas. “My modus operandi is sketching. If George liked something, he said he liked it, and that was it really,” recalled the costume designer in a The Times 2012 interview.
Mollo had extensive knowledge of military uniforms acquired during his childhood. He was influenced by his father’s hobby of collecting military badges, who also brought home toy soldiers from Germany in the 1930s.
“For Darth Vader I had to go to three departments: the ecclesiastical department for a robe, the modern department for a motorcycle suit and the military department for a German helmet and gas mask. We cobbled it all together, and there was Darth Vader,” explained Mollo.
In the interview Mollo recalled being skeptical about Star Wars along with the rest of the crew, “We really didn’t know what we were doing, we were feeling our way along.”
He also went on to design costumes for “The Empire Strikes Back” but had less contact with Lucas.
For his efforts, he was awarded his first Oscar in 1978. Mollo would later acquire a second for his work on Richard Attenborough’s film “Ghandi”. Mollo also worked with Ridley Scott and designed costumes for the 1979 “Alien” film.
Other movies that received the Mollo touch include “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” (1984), “Revolution” (1985), “Cry Freedom” (1987), “The Three Musketeers” (1993), and “The Jungle Book” (1994).
His last works were for the “Hornblower” TV film series which ran between October 1998 and January 2003. Alfred Bayle/JB
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