Judy Dearing, 55, a costume designer for the theater, as well as a dancer and choreographer, died of acute pneumonia Sept. 30 at New York Hospital. She had lived in Manhattan.
Dearing began her career dancing with Miriam Makeba and acting with the Negro Ensemble Co., but she spent most of the last 20 years designing costumes for a variety of Broadway and other theater productions.
Her first costume design project was for the 1976 Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” for which she was given $100 to outfit the show’s seven performers.
She went on to design costumes for “From the Mississippi Delta,” “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,” “The Mighty Gents,” “Shimada,” “Checkmates,” “Zooman and the Sign,” and “What the Wine Sellers Buy.” She also designed costumes for two current Broadway shows: “Having Our Say” and the upcoming “Swinging on a Star.”
She won an Obie in 1985 designing the uniforms for Charles Fuller’s “A Soldier’s Play,” and was nominated for a Tony for her work on “Once on This Island.”
She grew up in Manhattan and attended City College, where she majored in mathematics and science. She married John Parks, another dancer, and collaborated with him on a number of concerts.
Dearing also was a professor of design at Howard University and resident designer at the U. of Texas drama department.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, Aissatou of Manhattan, her mother, father, two sisters and two brothers.