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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL 61801

Richard Hornung (1950 - December 30, 1995) was a costume designer nominated for an Oscar in 1992 for clothing the characters of the Coen brothers' Barton Fink (1991).

Before launching his career in New York as a costume painter and dyer, the Bethlehem, PA, native earned an M.F.A. in design from the University of Illinois. On Broadway, Hornung first worked as an assistant designer on shows such as Brighton Beach Memoirs before becoming a full-fledged costume designer on productions like Candida.

It was the Coen brothers who gave Hornung his break in movies on Raising Arizona (1986). He would continue designing for Coen films with The Hudsucker Proxy (1994). Hornung worked with other filmmakers too, including Oliver Stone on Nixon (1995) and Stephen Frears on The Grifters (1990). Hornung's final screen designs can be seen in City Hall (1996).

"I loved [costume designer] Richard Hornung immediately: He was handsome and smart and wry and dry and witty and the perfect choice for "The Grifters" (1990). Since Annette Bening and my character get mixed up at one point in the movie, and since we don't look alike in the least, it occurred to me that it might be a better idea to emphasize not out faces but our backs. I had a great dress that Azzedine Alaia had given me (in Paris): forest green, made of silk jersey knit, with crossed straps over a naked back. Richard loved the idea but decided to make the dress in deep red, "the color of clotted blood." "This film is essentially about poor people, and in the terms of the design, that means a distinct sense of space and color. You try to get the emotional temperature of a scene right visually by color, which Richard Hornung rightfully attached enormous importance to. And it's always good for the cinema to have to deal with emotion." Anjelica Houston

Hornung died of complications from AIDS on December 30, 1995.

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  1. http://www.allmovie.com/artist/richard-hornung-p94874