News your connection to The Boston Globe
Today's Globe  |   Latest News:   Local   Nation   World   |  NECN   Education   Obituaries   Special sections  

Bill Hargate, at 68; won Emmys in costume design

LOS ANGELES -- Bill Hargate, a Hollywood costume designer who won four Emmy awards for his work in television, died Sept. 12 of leukemia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 68.

The designer set fashion trends in the late 1980s, when he created a modern career look for Murphy Brown, a news anchorwoman played by Candice Bergen in the show named after her character. Brown's wardrobe of designer label outfits by Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren was built around colorful blazers, short skirts, and high heels for the office. Her baseball cap for weekends became a staple for many women.

"Women have thanked me because they think the way Murphy dresses has helped them to dress for the workplace," Mr. Hargate said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in 1994.

At the height of "Murphy Brown's" popularity, Mr. Hargate added a second weekly sitcom to his workload: "Love and War," which was introduced in 1992 and starred Susan Dey and later Annie Potts. The show was about a woman who owned a restaurant. "Those white coats that chefs wear are so boring," Mr. Hargate said at the time. He added colors and prints.

"We started getting letters from people saying, `Nobody would ever wear that for cooking,' " Hargate told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1994. "I said, `I don't care, they're fun to look at.' "

Since then, more professional chefs have traded their traditional white cotton kitchen jackets for jackets in striped seersucker, black with red embroidery, or other unconventional options.

Mr. Hargate and Potts became close friends. She was the presenter in 2001 when he was chosen for the Career Achievement in Television Award by the Costume Designers Guild.

"Bill loved women and had an incredible talent for making them look wonderful," Potts told the Los Angeles Times this week. "Besides that, he was the most fun person I knew. All we did was laugh."

He was best-known for his work on television sitcoms and variety shows, but his first love was theater.

He studied costume and set design at the Goodman School of Theater in Chicago and began his career with the St. Louis Municipal Opera. In 1979, he designed costumes for the Broadway revivals of "Peter Pan" and "Oklahoma!"

Globe Archives Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months