John Mollo, the military historian turned Oscar-winning costume designer whose credits include Stars Wars and Gandhi, died on October 25 at the age of 86, according to the The Times.
For George Lucas’s Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Mollo created the costumes worn by Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the stormtroopers. Mollo won an Oscar for Stars Wars in 1978. He also worked on Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi, for which he shared the Oscar for Best Costume Design with Bhanu Athaiya, and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979), Cry Freedom (1987), and Chaplin (1992).
Mollo was a “military history expert who acted as a historical advisor on several films, including The Charge of the Light Brigade and Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, before progressing to costume design”, according to the Independent.
In The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, Lucas recalled his association with Mollo: “I wanted somebody that really knew armor, somebody who was more into military hardware rather than somebody who knew how to design for the stage. I wanted designs that wouldn’t stand out, which would blend in and look like they belonged there.”