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Originally published July 9, 2012 at 2:59 PM | Page modified July 9, 2012 at 3:00 PM

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Costume designer Martin Pakledinaz dies

Two-time Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz, who designed hundreds of costumes for stage stars, has died. He was 58. His work was familiar in Seattle, where he designed costumes for Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet among other companies.

AP Drama Writer

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NEW YORK — Two-time Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz, who designed hundreds of costumes for stars such as Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone, has died, his agent said Monday. He was 58.

Pakledinaz died Sunday at his home in New York after a long battle with cancer, according to Patrick Herold, his agent.

Pakledinaz received Tonys for his designs for "Kiss Me Kate" in 2000 — with Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell — and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," two years later with Foster, whom he also dressed for her Tony-winning turn in "Anything Goes."

"My characters were defined from the fabric, the seams, the details of his work, his eye. I feel honored to know him, to love him, to call him a friend and collaborator and to be graced by his talent," Foster said in a statement.

Pakledinaz's additional Tony nominations include his work on "Anything Goes," "Lend Me A Tenor," "Blithe Spirit," "Gypsy," "The Pajama Game," "Golden Child" and "The Life." He most recently nabbed a nomination for this season's "Nice Work If You Can Get It."

Seattle arts patrons are familiar with Pakledinaz's work — his creations have been seen in local productions including Pacific Northwest Ballet's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Cinderella"; "Grease" at 5th Avenue Theatre; "The Three Sisters" at Intiman; and in the "Ring" cycle at Seattle Opera. He also created the costumes for the joint Metropolitan Opera-Seattle Opera production of "Iphigenia in Tauris" in 2007.

He also designed costumes for the San Francisco Ballet, the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Metropolitan Opera's "Iphigenie en Tauride," the 2011 Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and the film "My Week With Marilyn."

Other highlights include costuming Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson in Eugene O'Neill's "Anna Christie" in 1993, "Grease" with Laura Osnes, "The Golden Ticket" at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Kevin Kline as Hamlet in 1990.

LuPone, who starred in the 2008 Broadway revival of Gypsy, recalled that Pakledinaz would turn up with medals he'd found in flea markets and attach them to the coat she appeared in during the first act.

Those medals, she said, are treasured mementos. "I am grateful for my brief but deep experience with Marty. He's gone from our world too soon. Broadway is less talented," she said in a statement.

Pakledinaz grew up in Sterling Heights, Mich., and graduated from Wayne State University in 1975. He got his master's at the University of Michigan and moved to New York in 1977.

His work in opera includes the recent Juilliard production of "The Bartered Bride," directed by Stephen Wadsworth. He also had an enduring collaboration with the renowned director Peter Sellars, with whom he created new productions in Spain; Salzburg, Austria; Paris; New York and at the Santa Fe Opera.

He is survived by six brothers and one sister, nine nieces and nephews, and a godson.

"Martin was the best possible collaborator: eager, educated, versatile, savvy, pragmatic, imaginative," Morris said. "He was also the most gracious, appreciative, supportive and kind friend that one could ever desire."

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