Luster Bayless, costume designer for many John Wayne films, dies at 84
Legendary Hollywood costume designer Bayless Chandelierwho dressed John Wayne in more than a dozen classic westerns, including The real courage and The shooter, died of natural causes last Friday at his home in Canyon Country, Calif. He was 84 years old.
Bayless was a Navy veteran who grew up in Mississippi and hitchhiked to Los Angeles, where he was quickly hired by Western Costume in 1959. He worked there for two years as a costume designer before finally teaming up with Wayne in 1963. McLintock!after which Bayless became the Duke’s go-to client, though he liked to joke that Wayne “dressed himself”.
They would continue to work together on The real courage (1969), The undefeated (1969), Chisom (1970), howard hawks‘ Rio Lobo (1970), Big Jacques (1971), The Cowboys (1972), U.S. Marshal Cahill (1973), The train robbers (1973), McQ (1974), Cogburn Rooster (1975), Brannigan (1975) and Wayne’s Swan Song, The shooter (1976).
Bayless’ extended credits also include Francis Ford Coppolait’s Revelation now as well as Mary Poppins and Smokey and the banditin addition he worked with John Ford to Cheyenne Fall. Bayless also chose the iconic Stetson hat which Robert Duval worn in the acclaimed miniseries lone dove.
In 1977, Bayless launched American Costume Co. (now known as United*American Costume and led by his daughter, CEO Diana Foster) as the first independent company to provide the entire wardrobe and wardrobe team for a set budget. His company provided the wardrobe on classic films such as Titanic, Back to the future and unforgiven. Bayless also operated the Hollywood Movie Costume Museum in his hometown of Ruleville, MS for years.
A member of Motion Picture Costumers Local 705 and Costume Designers Guild Local 892, Bayless received a lifetime achievement award from the Motion Picture Costumers group in 2013 and the Costume Designers Guild’s Legacy Award in 2018. Obviously, he was one of the greatest and will be greatly missed, although his legacy will live on through the many films in which he participated.