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Life and career
Initially, Johnston worked in the theatre, but in 1978, she became the assistant costume designer (albeit uncredited) on Death on the Nile. This was followed the next year by work on Roman Polanski's Tess. Still an assistant costume designer, Johnston worked for the first time with Spielberg on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and The Color Purple (1985).
Her first feature film costume design credit was Hellraiser (1987). A year later she worked with Robert Zemeckis on the highly successful Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The working relationship with Zemeckis continued through Back to the Future Part II (1989), Back to the Future Part III (1990), Death Becomes Her (1992), Contact (1997), Cast Away (2000), The Polar Express (2004), and Allied (2016) for which she received her second nomination for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
In 1989, Spielberg hired her as designer on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and they worked together again on Saving Private Ryan (1998), War of the Worlds (2005), Munich (also 2005) and War Horse (2011). Their latest collaboration is Lincoln for which she received her first nomination for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, but lost to three-time nominee Jacqueline Durran, respectively.
She currently lives in America.