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Fashion designer Nolan Miller, best known for his lavish, extravagant costumes and big shouldered jackets and dresses for the 1980s drama Dynasty, died of cancer on Wednesday at the age of 79.
One of the series’ stars — and Miller’s longtime friend — Joan Collins broke the news on Twitter Thursday night. Miller had battled lung cancer for several years.
“My dear friend Nolan Miller died peacefully in his sleep last night. He was a huge part of my life and I will miss him terribly. Rest now NM,” she wrote. Collins tells The Hollywood Reporter, “He was a huge part of my ife. He was an innovator and helped define fashion through his lifelong contributions. His legacy is enormous and not only me but every one who knew him will miss the humor warmth and joy he gave generously. He was a rare gem – one of the truly good human beings in this world – and I am simply devastated he is gone.”
He was nominated in the costume categories during the mid-’80s: Outstanding Costume Design for a Series for Dynasty in 1983, 1985 and 1986. He won the Emmy for Dynasty in 1984. He was also nominated for an Outstanding Costume Design for a Limited Series or a Special for Malice in Wonderland in 1985; and Outstanding Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special for The Two Mrs. Grenvilles in 1987.
He also designed costumes for the Dynasty spin-off, The Colbys, and other shows including Hotel and T.J. Hooker.
The popularity of his clothing for the show spawned a QVC clothing line, the Dynasty Collection. He also sold jewelry for 20 years on QVC, announcing his retirement from the shopping network in July 2011. His jewelry collection has raised over a quarter of a million dollars for lung cancer research.
Nolan Bertrandoff Miller was born in Burkburnett, Texas, on January 8, 1933. He’d known from childhood he was destined to design.
“When I was about in the 5th or the 6th grade I made up my mind — I fell in love with movies and I thought I want to design gorgeous costumes for gorgeous stars and it was my lifelong ambition,” Miller has said. “I never wanted anything else. I never changed”.
Miller maintained a career as a private couturier in Beverly Hills, California, with clients including Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Collins. His protégé and business partner Mark Zunino, who continues to maintain the couture boutique on Bevelry Blvd in West Hollywood.
Nolan’s wishes were to be cremated and his ashes scattered by his longtime friends including his faithful assistants Mark Zunino, Rene Horsch, Ann-Margret, and Collins.
“He didn’t want a funeral,” Collins tells THR.. “He wanted to be cremated and he wants Mark, Rene and me to go to Venice, scatter his ashes in the canals and then go Harry’s Bar and have Bellinis.”
But there is also talk now of a Nolan Miller tribute in a month or two — benefitting lung cancer research — to be held in Hollywood. So many have people have called and want to commemorate his life and career,” says Zunino. “I think it’s important for his friends to have that opportunity.”
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