Theadora Van Runkle

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Theadora Van Runkle (born Dorothy Schweppe;[1] March 27, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – November 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, California) was an American costume designer.[2]

Early life[edit]

Van Runkle was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the illegitimate daughter of Courtney Bradstreet Schweppe (1885-1958), a reported member of the Schweppes beverage family, and Eltsy Adair (1909-2005), the latter of whom raised Van Runkle on her own in California.[1]

Her first marriage, to Robert Van Runkle when she was 16, ended in divorce, as did her second, to photographer Bruce McBroom. With Van Runkle, she had two children.


The first films Van Runkle designed costumes for were Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and The Arrangement (1969), all of which starred Faye Dunaway, for whom Van Runkle also designed the gown Dunaway wore to the 1968 Oscars, as well as Dunaway's complete off-screen wardrobe at the time.

Theadora Van Runkle was nominated for an Oscar for three of her projects: 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather: Part II in 1974, and Peggy Sue Got Married in 1986. Although not nominated for her work on Troop Beverly Hills, in the film, the central character (played by the effervescent Shelly Long), references Van Runkle by name. After being complimented on her dress, Long declares "It's a Van Runkle."

She was the recipient of the Costume Designer Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.[3]


Theadora Van Runkle died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of lung cancer on November 4, 2011. She was survived by her son, Max, her daughter, Felicity, and her grandson, Teo.[3]





  1. ^ a b Theadora Van Runkle obituary. The Guardian, 2011-11-11.
  2. ^ Theadora Van Runkle, Costume Designer, Dies at 83. New York Times, 2011-11-08.
  3. ^ a b Theadora Van Runkle dies at 83; noted Hollywood costume designer. Los Angeles Times, 2011-11-08.

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