Quiz Answer Key: “How Well Do You Know Edith Head?”

Updated: May 29, 2020

Are you a fan of Hollywood’s winningest costume designer? This quiz tests your knowledge of some of Edith Head’s most iconic designs.

Edith Head accepting her Oscar for Best Costume Design at the 46th Academy Awards for 1973’s “The Sting."

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Question #1: For which film did Edith Head win her first Academy Award? 

Answer: The Heiress (1949). While Head’s work on all four films was outstanding, the Best Costume Design category wasn’t added to the Academy Awards until 1948; she was nominated that year for The Emperor Waltz but lost to Dorothy Jeakins for Joan of Arc. Head won the following year for The Heiress.

Question #2: How many Academy Award nominations did Edith Head receive throughout her career? 

Answer: 35. At 35 Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design, Edith Head holds the distinction of earning more nominations than any other woman in history — but not any other person, as Walt Disney holds the top spot with 59 nominations.

Question #3: How many Oscars did she win? 

Answer: Head won 8 Academy Awards. Edith Head’s eight Oscars is also a record for the most wins by a woman — she’s fifth on the all-time list for wins, after Walt Disney (26), art director Cedric Gibbons (11), composer Alfred Newman (9), and special-effects artist Dennis Muren (9).

Question #4: Among all the actresses Edith Head worked with throughout her career, whom did she call her personal favorite? 

Answer: Grace Kelly. Head was once quoted as saying that, while she had dressed thousands of “actors, actresses and animals,” when asked her personal favorite, she named Grace Kelly, whom she called “a charming lady, a most gifted actress, and, to me, a valued friend.”

Question #5: For which film, surprisingly, did Edith Head not win an Academy Award? 

Answer: To Catch a Thief. Head was nominated but did not win for 1955’s To Catch a Thief; while Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film was nominated for five Oscars (including Head for Best Costume Design), she lost at the 1956 awards ceremony to Charles LeMaire for Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.

Question #6: Which of Head’s designs from the 1950s was widely copied? 

Answer: Elizabeth Taylor's strapless white gown in A Place in the Sun. While each design is considered iconic, Taylor’s gown was widely copied after A Place in the Sun premiered in 1951, as girls clamored to wear it to their proms.

Question #7: Claudette Colbert dropped out of this 1950 film due to a back injury, and the actress who replaced her said only Edith Head could design her costumes — who was that actress? 

Answer: Bette Davis in All About Eve. Davis agreed to step in and do the film, on one condition: that Edith Head create her costumes. Davis was so pleased with the designs Head created that, for her now-legendary “Fasten your seat belts” dress, the actress had the sketch Head had created for the look framed, and she hung it in her home.

Question #8: True or False: Edith Head remained with the same studio for her entire 57-year career. 

Answer: False. Head stayed at Paramount Pictures for 43 years, but left in 1967 (at the age of 70) to join Universal Pictures, where she worked until she passed away in 1981.

Question #9: Head won an Academy Award (her sixth) for 1955’s Sabrina, but in her speech she didn’t thank a key person who contributed several designs; who was that designer? 

Answer: Hubert de Givenchy. Audrey Hepburn had been sent to France by director Billy Wilder so her Parisian looks would feel authentic — she met Hubert de Givenchy, who designed several key looks (it was also the beginning of their lifelong friendship). While the designs were crafted in Head’s Paramount studio, her neglect in thanking Givenchy led to Hepburn’s demand that he be properly credited as the designer of her costumes in any future films in which they worked together.

Question #10: What was the final film for which Edith Head received an Academy Award? 

Answer: The Sting. In subsequent years Edith Head would be nominated twice more, for 1975’s The Man Who Would Be King and for 1977’s Airport ’77, but her final Oscar win before her death in 1981 was for 1973’s The Sting.

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