Costume designer Martin Pakledinaz, a U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance alumnus who won two Tony Awards and was nominated for eight more, died on Sunday, July 8, 2012 following a long battle with cancer. Upon the announcement of his death on July 9, some of the biggest names on Broadway, including Patti Lupone and Sutton Foster, issued statements expressing their grief. "My characters were defined from the fabric, the seams, the details of his work, his eye. I feel honored to know him, to love him, to call him a friend and collaborator and to be graced by his talent," said Foster, who wore Pakledinaz's costumes in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes. Patti Lupone, who worked with Pakledinaz when he designed costumes for her starring role as Mama Rose in Gypsy said, "I am grateful for my brief but deep experience with Marty. He's gone from our world too soon. Broadway is less talented."
Pakledinaz was a student in U-M's MFA program in costume design in the mid-1970s. He departed for New York City in 1977 and soon met Theoni V. Aldredge, the famed Tony-winning designer, with whom he collaborated for seven years before striking out on his own. He received his Tony Awards for Kiss Me Kate in 2000 and for Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002. His most recent nomination came this past year for Nice Work If You Can Get It. A prolific and sought after artist, he also designed for regional theatre (including Chicago, where he won the Joseph Jefferson Award) , opera houses around the world, ballet and dance companies such as Mark Morris's, and film (most recently My Week With Marilyn). Pakledinaz's extensive accomplishments are outlined in obituaries by The New York Times and Playbill.com, among many others.