Timothy MacKenzie Gunn
July 29, 1953
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Timothy MacKenzie Gunn (born July 29, 1953) is an American author, academic, and television personality. He served on the faculty of Parsons School of Design from 1982 to 2007 and was chair of fashion design at the school from August 2000 to March 2007, after which he joined Liz Claiborne (now Kate Spade & Company) as its chief creative officer. Over 16 seasons, Gunn has become well known as the on-air mentor to designers on the reality television program Project Runway. Gunn's popularity on Project Runway led to two spin-off shows; Bravo's Tim Gunn's Guide to Style and Lifetime's Under the Gunn, as well as five books. In addition to being an executive producer, Gunn has served as mentor for the teen designers on Project Runway: Junior. He also provides the voice of Baileywick, the castle steward in the Disney Junior television show Sofia the First and narrated the sitcom Mixology.
Gunn was born in Washington, D.C. His father worked in the FBI where he started off as an agent but transitioned into becoming a ghostwriter and speechwriter for J. Edgar Hoover. Gunn attended the Corcoran College of Art and Design, receiving a BFA in sculpture.
Gunn, who is gay, was raised in an intensely homophobic household where homosexuals were viewed as predators. According to a video Gunn created for the It Gets Better Project, he attempted suicide at the age of 17 by swallowing over 100 pills. He denied his sexual orientation until his early 20s, and did not share it with his family until he came out to his sister when he was 29.
After serving as director of admissions for the Corcoran, Gunn started working at Parsons in 1982, served as associate dean from 1989 to 2000, and then became Fashion Design Department chair in August 2000. He was credited with "retooling and invigorating the curriculum for the 21st century."
Gunn began appearing on Project Runway during its first season in 2004, and is known for his catchphrase "Make it work." Gunn received a Primetime Emmy Award in 2013 for Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program. Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, a reality show in which Gunn gives fashion advice, debuted in September 2007 on the Bravo television network. This show ran for a total of 16 episodes over two seasons. Then starting in January 2014 Gunn was the host on a single 13–episode season of Lifetime's Under the Gunn. Gunn is an executive producer for Project Runway: Junior. He is also the teen designers' mentor.
Gunn also played a version of himself as a reporter for the fictional Fashion TV in two episodes of ABC's Ugly Betty in February 2007 and later guest starred on Drop Dead Diva in August 2009 as himself.
In April 2007, Abrams Image Publishers released Gunn's book A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, co-written with Kate Moloney, cover photo by Markus Klinko & Indrani. While on tour in Palm Springs, California, the nearby city of Palm Desert honored him with an official resolution declaring April 27, 2007 (the day of his visit) Timothy M. Gunn Day. He was also presented with a certificate by the city of Palm Springs and a plaque by the nearby city of Rancho Mirage in recognition of his career achievements. From 2010 to 2015 Gunn published four additional books (listed below).
On September 7, 2018, it was confirmed that Gunn, along with Heidi Klum would not be returning to Project Runway for a 17th season on Bravo as they both signed a deal to host a fashion competition show on Amazon Video titled Making the Cut. Making the Cut released its third season in the summer of 2022.
In other media
In August 2007, "Tim Gunn's Podcast (a reality chamber opera)" by Jeffrey Lependorf premiered at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Manhattan. It received its first run one year later at New York International Fringe Festival.
Gunn appeared in a backup story in the first issue of Models Inc., a fashion-themed comic book miniseries published by Marvel Comics that debuted in September 2009 to coincide with New York City's style showcase. Gunn appeared on a variant cover of the issue illustrated by Phil Jimenez. In the series, which is written by Project Runway fan Mark Sumerak and illustrated by Jimenez, Gunn dons the Iron Man armor to foil an attack against the New York Fashion Museum.
Tim Gunn appears in Kate McKinnon's audio drama "Heads Will Roll".
Gunn lives in Manhattan. In a 2006 interview with Instinct, Gunn stated that he had not been in a relationship since the early 1980s, following the abrupt end of a six-year relationship when his boyfriend cheated on him, and that he still loves his former partner, though they are not in contact. In a 2010 interview with People magazine, he said, "For a long time, I didn't know what I was. I knew what I wasn't: I wasn't interested in boys, and I really wasn't interested in girls." He mentioned he has "always been kind of asexual." Gunn spoke about his celibacy in 2012. He later stated that he is unashamed of this fact saying, "Do I feel like less of a person for it? No... I'm a perfectly happy and fulfilled individual." He said he started his self-imposed celibacy as AIDS began ravaging the gay community, and that he and many other people simply retreated.
Gunn is an outspoken critic of clothing designs using animal fur. In 2008, he narrated a video about rabbit fur farming in China for animal rights group PETA. He termed the treatment of animals used for fur as "egregiously irresponsible".
Awards and honors
In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named him among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people”.
- Making the Cut (2020–2022, TV series) as Himself
- Project Runway (2004–2017, TV series) as Himself
- Drinks with LX (2006) as Himself
- Ugly Betty (2007, TV series) as Fashion TV Reporter
- Tim Gunn's Guide to Style (2007–2008, TV series) as Himself
- American Dad! (2008) as Himself (voice)
- The Replacements (2008, TV series) as Himself (voice)
- Drop Dead Diva (2009, TV series) as Tim Gunn
- Project Runway: All-Star Challenge (2009, TV Special) as Himself - Mentor
- The Biggest Loser: Second Chances (2009, TV series)
- How I Met Your Mother (2010–2014, TV series) as Himself
- Sex and the City 2 (2010) as Himself
- Gossip Girl (2010, TV series) as Himself
- Teen Spirit (2011, TV Movie) as Supervisor J-3
- The Smurfs (2011) as Henri
- The Revolution (2012, TV series) as Himself - Co-Host
- The Cleveland Show (2012, TV series) as Himself (voice) Episode: "Turkey Pot Die"
- Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess (2012, TV Movie) as Baileywick (voice)
- Sofia the First (2013–2018, TV series) as Baileywick (voice)
- Sesame Street (2013, TV series) as William 'Bill' Ding
- Family Guy (2013, TV series) as Himself (voice) Episode: "Save the Clam"
- Mixology (2014, TV series) as Himself
- Under the Gunn (2014) as Himself
- Hollywood Game Night (2014, TV series) as Himself
- Inside Amy Schumer (2015, TV series) as Willenby
- Project Runway: Junior (2015–2016, TV series)
- The Real O'Neals (2016, TV series) as Himself
- Bill Nye Saves the World (2017, TV series) as Himself
- Mickey and the Roadster Racers (2017, TV series) as Robbie Roberts (voice)
- BoJack Horseman (2017, TV series) as Himself
- Making the Cut (2020–present; Himself and executive producer)
- Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? (2020 TV series) as Himself
- Gunn, Tim; Moloney, Kate (2007), Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., ISBN 978-0-8109-9284-9
- Gunn, Tim; Calhoun, Ada (September 2010), Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work, Gallery Books, ISBN 978-1-4391-7656-6
- Gunn, Tim (May 2011), Shaken, Not Stirred, Tim Gunn, ASIN B004UN4L9E
- Gunn, Tim; Calhoun, Ada (September 2012), Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet, Gallery Books, ISBN 978-1-4516-4387-9
- Gunn, Tim (March 2015), Tim Gunn: The Natty Professor: A Master Class on Mentoring, Motivating, and Making It Work!, Gallery Books, ISBN 978-1476780061
- "Tim Gunn". Biography.com. A&E Networks. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "Not My Job: Project Runway's Tim Gunn Gets Quizzed On Terrible Fashion". NPR.org.
- Randy Shulman (September 26, 2007). "Naked Gunn: Bravo's style maven and gay icon, Tim Gunn". Metro Weekly. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
- "Tim Gunn Reveals Suicide Attempt, Urges Gay Youth to Reach Out". Eonline.com. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "It Got Better featuring Tim Gunn". It Gets Better Project. Archived from the original on 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
- "Tim Gunn's Bio", Bravo, Project Runway, archived from the original on 2009-02-04, retrieved 2007-10-31
- Thomas, Kelly. "Stuck on You". Art + Auction. Blouin Art Info.
- "Project Runway | Emmys.com". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Tim Gunn and Kathy Griffin to guest-star on Ugly Betty", The Advocate, January 18, 2007, retrieved 2007-10-31
- "Liz Claiborne Press Release", Liz Claiborne, Inc.: Press Release, February 1, 2007, retrieved 2007-10-31
- "California Gunn", Publishers Weekly, Inc.: Article, April 27, 2007, archived from the original on September 21, 2007, retrieved 2007-04-27
- "Corcoran Gallery of Art". Archived from the original on February 24, 2012.
- "Craig Ferguson - Dear Aquaman with Tim Gunn Season 6 Episode 980". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
- Kate Stanhope. "Tim Gunn and Kenny Rogers to appear on How I Met Your Mother". TVGuide.com.
- "Tim Gunn to Guest-Star on Gossip Girl". TVGuide.com. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- Christie D'Zurilla (2018-09-07). "Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn Leave 'Project Runway' for Amazon Prime Video project". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-09-08.
- "Jeffrey Lependorf composer / performer". Jeffreylependorf.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- "Introducing Marvel Comics' Hired Gunn", TV Guide, p. 13, September 7, 2009
- "'Do I Sound Gay?': Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter, September 8, 2014.
- McClear, Sheila. "'Project Runway' mentor takes no prisoners". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2010-09-11. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "Celebrities who've gone without sex for a while". 21 October 2017.
- Hernandez, Greg (2010-09-12). "Tim Gunn's revealing People interview: "When I was seventeen, I'd made a serious suicide attempt"". greginhollywood.com. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
- Lynch, Rene (2012-01-25), "Tim Gunn's 29 years of celibacy: Yes, it's unusual, expert says", Los Angeles Times, retrieved 2014-07-08
- "The Discerning Brute Chats With Tim Gunn About Going Fur Free". February 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
- Belonsky, Andrew (2013-07-25). "WATCH: Tim Gunn In For Quinn". Out.
- "Queerty Pride50 2020 Honorees". Queerty. Retrieved 2020-06-30.
- Bull, Chris (2020-07-27). "These style-makers are changing how the world sees gender, one outfit at a time". Queerty. Retrieved 2020-08-13.
- Tim Gunn at IMDb
- Lifetime TV's Project Runway official website
- Chicago Tribune (December 1, 2005): "A chat with Tim Gunn of 'Project Runway'"
- The New York Times (Apr. 12, 2007): "The Headmaster of Fashion"
- Interview: Sarah's Backstage Pass: Sarah Adamson "Style for the Suburban Woman"[permanent dead link]
- Interview: Palm Springs Life Magazine: R. Christian Anderson "Style Tips for Summer: Tim Gunn Offers Advice for the Desert"