Elois Jenssen

Oscar-winning costume designer

Oscar-winning costume designer Elois Jenssen died Feb. 14 at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was 81.

In addition to her lengthy career producing costumes for film and television productions, Jenssen was an active leader in both the Costume Designers Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Born in Palo Alto, Calif., she attended the Westlake School for Girls but transferred to the Parsons School of Design in Paris at age 13 to study fashion design. When the outbreak of WWII interrupted those studies, she and her family returned to California, where Jenssen enrolled at the Chouinard Art Institute.

When she graduated Jenssen found a position with producer Hunt Stromberg’s new company as an assistant to costume designer Natalie Visart. She succeeded Visart as Stromberg’s top designer three years later and received her first screen credit for her work in “Dishonored Lady,” which starred Hedy Lamarr.

After Stromberg closed his production office, Jenssen freelanced for a period, during which she again designed costumes for Lamarr in “Let’s Live A Little.” At the end of 1948, she became one of five designers recruited for the massive job of producing the costumes for the Cecil B. DeMille epic “Samson and Delilah.” Jenssen, Edith Head, Dorothy Jeakins, Gile Steele and Gwen Wakeling all won Oscars for the production.

Following work on several additional films, Jenssen moved into television, where she first produced the designs for Ann Sothern in “Private Secretary,” then worked for several years with Lucille Ball on “I Love Lucy.” Her other television credits include designs for shows starring Julie Newmar (“My Living Doll”) and Eleanor Parker (“Bracken’s World”).

In 1982 she received her second Academy Award nomination for her work on the Disney sci-fi film “Tron.”

Jenssen was predeceased by her husband, Thomas J. Andre Jr. She is survived by her stepson, five stepgrandchildren, six stepgreat-grandchildren and several cousins.

A memorial service and reception will be held 2 p.m. April 3 at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Country House.

More Scene

  • Mary Bailey Steve D'Angelo, Jim Belushi

    Cannabis Industry Tackles Justice Reform With 'Last Prisoner Project'

    Jim Belushi is standing two feet away in the backyard of his spacious Brentwood home, honking a harp like he’s a Blues Brother back in sweet home Chicago accompanied by noted reggae band Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany and Kyle Ahern, who provide a 12-bar shuffle. There’s the sweet smell of skunk – and success — hanging [...]

  • Dwayne Wade holds up the legend

    Dwyane Wade, Megan Rapinoe Win Big at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Awards

    The 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards was filled with incredible athletes, inspiring moments and — of course — a massive amount of slime. “I love the kids. I love the slime. I loved the games. I love seeing celebrities and athletes like become kids again. And it’s like my favorite thing,” Michael Strahan told [...]

  • Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani

    Dave Bautista Talks Representation in Hollywood and Defying Stereotypes with 'Stuber'

    Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani make an unlikely duo in “Stuber,” an R-rated comedy about a police officer and his Uber driver. But the two connected over the rare chance to star in the film as actors of Asian descent (Baustia is half-Filipino and Nanjiani is Pakistani). “I’ve been stereotyped for a couple different reasons [...]

  • Skin

    How Jamie Bell Transformed Into a Neo-Nazi for 'Skin'

    Anyone who still associates British actor Jamie Bell with his breakout role as a young boy who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer will quickly forget all about “Billy Elliot” after seeing “Skin,” which screened at ArcLight Hollywood on Thursday night. “I was shocked,” the film’s writer-director, Guy Nattiv, told Variety of his leading man’s [...]


    Leonardo DiCaprio-Produced Doc 'Sea of Shadows' Takes on Mexican Cartels

    Leonardo DiCaprio‘s latest eco-documentary “Sea of Shadows” doesn’t shy away from taking on Mexican cartels. “For some of the guys there, he is state enemy number one at the moment,” said producer Wolfgang Knöpfler at the documentary’s premiere on Wednesday night at Neuehouse in Los Angeles. “The cartels don’t like him.” Appian Way and DiCaprio [...]

  • Megan Rapinoe and USWNT - 2019

    ESPY Awards 2019: What You Didn’t See on TV

    The ESPYs’ television broadcast only paints so much of the picture of what went down at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles from sports’ biggest award ceremony. Viewers at home saw Tracy Morgan host, celebrities like Sandra Bullock present and athletes including Drew Brees, Alex Morgan and Giannis Antetokounmpo receive awards, but they didn’t quite [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content