Remembering Tony Award-winning costume designer Franne Lee

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Remembering Tony Award-winning costume designer Franne Lee

From SNL‘s Coneheads to Killer Bees, Broadway’s Sweeney Todd and Candide, we bear in mind Tony Award-winning costume designer Franne Lee who died on Aug. 27.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We pay tribute now to Tony Award-winning costume designer Franne Lee. She created the seems to be of among the first characters on “Saturday Night time Stay,” together with the Coneheads and Killer Bees. She additionally labored on Broadway and helped carry “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Avenue” to life. Lee died final week in Florida at 81. NPR’s Elizabeth Blair has this appreciation.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Franne Lee as soon as mentioned she had no concern of designing with out cash. She mentioned it makes you extra inventive. And within the early years of “SNL,” she needed to get very inventive.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”)

GILDA RADNER: (As Baba Wawa) Whats up, I am Baba Wawa.

BLAIR: For Baba Wawa, a parody of journalist Barbara Walters, Lee gave Gilda Radner a plaid shirt and vest. Lee mentioned she made plenty of visits to Goodwill to seek out costumes for “SNL.” For Radner’s nerdy Emily Litella on Weekend Replace, it was a prim, purple sweater.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”)

RADNER: (As Emily Litella) What’s all this fuss I hold listening to about violins on tv?

BLAIR: And for the Coneheads, it was fairly self-evident – naked, flesh-colored, towering cones.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”)

DAN AYKROYD: (As Beldar) I’m Beldar. That is Prymatt and Connie. I belief now we have arrived on the pre-designated time coordinates.

BLAIR: Final 12 months, in an interview with the podcast “Ian Talks Comedy,” Lee informed Ian Fermaglich she favored the camaraderie on the present however wasn’t at all times nuts concerning the materials.

(SOUNDBITE OF PODCAST, “IAN TALKS COMEDY”)

FRANNE LEE: I did not like a number of the writing, (laughter) to be sincere with you. I believed a few of it was good, however I believed it was very sophomoric.

BLAIR: All through her profession, Franne Lee collaborated together with her partner, a set designer, Eugene Lee. They each gained Tony Awards for his or her work on the Broadway musical “Candide.” Later, they designed the look of “Sweeney Todd,” starring Angela Lansbury.

(SOUNDBITE OF PLAY, “SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET”)

ANGELA LANSBURY: (As Mrs. Lovett) Now let’s cease all this silly chatter and simply sit right here, good and quiet.

BLAIR: Franne Lee’s papers are on the New York Public Library. Theater curator Doug Reside mentioned that Lee discovered concepts in classic cartoon photos from the satirical journal Punch.

DOUG RESIDE: I believe that is form of really consultant of Franne’s work, that she tends to take one thing that is form of foolish and comedian and convey a form of seriousness to it.

BLAIR: Later in life, she frolicked portray and began an artist co-op. Her daughter, Stacy Sandler, tells NPR her mother liked creating costumes out of discovered items – rags and different issues. She says even when she had greater budgets to play with, Franne Lee was at all times in search of the deal.

Elizabeth Blair, NPR Information.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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