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  • 1975  National Endowment for the Arts Grant

  • 1983  Music Television (MTV), Best Costume Award, Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

  • 1988  Academy Award nomination, Best Costume Design, Coming to America.

  • 1993  Drama-Logue Award, Outstanding Costume Design: Dinner at Eight.

  • 1993  Bay Area Theatre Critics Award, Costume Design: Dinner at Eight.

  • 1994  Drama-Logue Award, Outstanding Costume Design: The Waiting Room.

  • 1995  Drama-Logue Award, Outstanding Costume Design: Gaslight.

  • 2005  UCLA Department of Theater, Film and Television, Distinguished Alumni 

  • 2006  University of Texas, Austin, William Randolph Hearst Fellow.

  • 2014  Costume Society of America, Professional Costume Designer/Technologist Award.

  • 2015  Costume Designers Guild, Local 892, Edith Head Award for the Advancement of the Art of Costume Design.

Selected Awards & Nominations:


  • 1973  BA, Theater, Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont

  • 1975  MFA, Costume Design, University of California, Los Angeles

  • 2003  PhD, History of Design, Royal College of Art, London

  • Dissertation: Scene and Not Heard: The Role of Costume in the Cinematic Storytelling Process.  The first doctoral dissertation in the field of motion picture costume design.


Deborah Nadoolman Landis, PhD, costume designer, historian, David C. Copley Chair, is a Distinguished Professor at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Landis is the Founding Director of the David C. Copley Center for Costume Design. Her celebrated career includes Animal House (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Trading Places (1983), Three Amigos! (1987), Coming to America (1988), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award, and the groundbreaking music video Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983). 


A passionate advocate for her field, Landis has been a union member since 1976.  She served as a two-term (2001-2007) president of the Costume Designers Guild, Local 892, and co-founded and co-chaired the first CDG Awards in 1998. While president, she founded The Costume Designer magazine and revived the CDG Newsletter. When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences finally created a Costume Design Branch in 2013, Landis became one of the three Governors. On behalf of the Academy, she has moderated costume designer panels in Mexico City, Rome, Madrid and Paris. In 2022, she founded the annual David C. Copley Lecture in Silent Film Costuming as part of the Cinema Muto film festival in Pordenone, Italy. 


Landis is the author of six books. These include the Kraszna-Krausz Award-winning catalog for her landmark exhibition, Hollywood Costume, which she curated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (2012). In 2025, Bloomsbury will publish Dressed: A History of Hollywood Costume Design, a revision of the original 2007 edition. Deborah Landis is the editor-in-chief of the upcoming three-volume, Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Film and Television Costume Design (2024), which will be available in print and by subscription on the Bloomsbury Dress and Costume Library. 


Deborah Landis lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband, filmmaker John Landis. She has two adult children, three cats, a dog and two beehives.  

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