Robert Fletcher Dies: Costume Designer For ‘Star Trek’ Films, Broadway Was 98

Everett Collection

Robert Fletcher, a costume designer whose more than six decades of credits on screen and the Broadway stage included the first four Star Trek films, died April 5 in Kansas City, MO. He was 98.

A cause of death was not disclosed, but a spokesman for the three-time Tony-nominated Fletcher said the designer died peacefully.

Fletcher’s work on the Star Trek films – Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home – earned him three Saturn Awards nominations (honoring science fiction, fantasy and horror movies) including a win in 1987 for the fourth film in the series. He was especially remembered for establishing the look and style of the movie franchise’s Klingon and Vulcan characters.

For the stage, Fletcher designed sets and costumes for Lincoln Kirstein’s ballet and opera projects, worked with Jerome Robbins, designed the costumes for the original Broadway productions of the musicals How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Walking Happy and designed the costumes for – and played the role of Edgar in – Orson Welles’s 1956 New York City Center production of Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Among his many other Broadway costume design credits are Little Me (1962), High Spirits (1964), Walking Happy (1966), Borstal Boy (1970), The Flying Karamazov Brothers (1983) and the 1982 revival of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Fletcher’s stage work earned three Tony Award nominations (Little Me, High Spirits and, in 1969, Hadrian VII (for High Spirits, he was also co-producer and scenic designer). He received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Costume Design for 1982’s Othello starring James Earl Jones, Christopher Plummer and Dianne Wiest.

Off Broadway, Fletcher designed the sets and costumers for 1963’s revival of the musical Best Foot Forward starring newcomers Liza Minnelli and Christopher Walken.

For television, Fletcher’s career in the 1950s included being NBC’s general designer and, in the 1960s and ’70s, he designed costumes for The Hollywood Palace and The Dean Martin Show. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special for North and South, Book II (1986), and in 2005 he was given the Career Achievement Award from the Costume Designers Guild. He received a Theatre Development Fund/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for his set design in 2008.

Fletcher was preceded in death by his husband of 65 years, Jack Kauflin, a singer, Broadway dancer and original member of the New York City Ballet.

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