Anthea Sylbert Dies: Oscar-Nominated ‘Chinatown’ Costume Designer Who Worked On ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘King Kong’ & Many More Was 84

Anthea Sylbert Dies: Oscar-Nominated ‘Chinatown’ Costume Designer Who Worked On ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘King Kong’ & Many More Was 84

Anthea Sylbert, an Oscar-nominated costume designer on Chinatown and Julia who dressed Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby among many other credits and also was a studio exec and an Emmy-winning producer, has died. She was 84.

The news came from filmmaker Sakus Lalus, who made the 2023 documentary Anthea Sylbert: My Life in 3 Acts. The film followed Sylbert as she penned her memoir on the Greek island of Skiathos. See a trailer for the doc below.

More from Deadline

Sylbert was a costume designer on more than 20 films from the late 1960s to late ’70s including Carnal Knowledge, The Heartbreak Kid, Shampoo, The Fortune, King Kong, The Illustrated Man, The Last Tycoon and F.I.S.T. Later in her career, she also produced or exec produced such pics as Overboard, My Blue Heaven and Something to Talk About and won an Outstanding Made for Television Movie Emmy and a PGA Award for 1995’s Truman, starring Gary Sinise as the 33rd U.S. president.

Along with her Emmy and dual Oscar noms, Sylbert was a two-time BAFTA nominee and received the 2005 Career Achievement Award from the Costume Designers Guild.

The 1968 horror thriller Rosemary’s Baby from Roman Polanski was a box office smash, and many of Farrow’s outfits attained big-screen icon status. There’s her character Rosemary Woodhouse’s famous yellow and white mini-dress, the maroon gown with the white lace collar and the long blue nightgown she wears while hovering over the baby’s cradle:

Mia Farrow in ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ 1968
Mia Farrow in ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ 1968
Anthea Sylbert dead
Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway in ‘Chinatown,’ 1974

Sylbert also designed Faye Dunaway’s memorable 1930s-era ensembles in Polanski’s Chinatown, which also starred Jack Nicholson. Her Oscar nom for the 1974 film was one of 11 including Best Picture.

“Jack Nicholson actually gave me the best compliment I ever got as a costume designer,” Sylbert said in My Life in 3 Acts. “He said, ‘When The Ant does your clothes, you don’t have to act as much.’ He called me ‘The Ant’ instead of Anthea.”

Sylbert’s second Academy Award nomination was for another period piece, 1977’s Julia, starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave.

Born on October 6, 1939, in New York City, she also served in executive posts at Warner Bros. and United Artists and launched SylbertHawn Film Productions with her close friend Goldie Hawn.

Sylbert also wrote a pair of TV movies she produced, Giving Up the Ghost (1998) and If You Believe (1999).

Here is the trailer for Anthea Sylbert: My Life in 3 Acts:


Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.