Our receptionist, Kristin Rasmussen, knows from experience how sweet the late Hollywood costume designer Moss Mabry was. Here’s her story.
About four years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Moss Mabry when he participated in the annual Wide Screen Film Festival held on the campus of California State University, Long Beach. We in the film department were “encouraged” to participate in the festival to a certain degree. I was told that I would be picking up Mabry at his house in San Diego County. I must admit that at the time I had no idea of his significance in the film industry, but still I wondered how this man in his 80s was going to handle the drive to the campus in my little two door Saturn.
I was greeted in the driveway by Moss, who insisted I come in while we waited for his caretaker to gather his things. We didn’t wait long, and I nervously showed him to the car that I was embarrassed he had to ride in. The hour-and-a-half drive seemed longer going back to CSU. He didn’t say much, but instead shifted around in his uncomfortable seat while his caretaker sat squished in the back. We arrived at the school, I showed him to the waiting area, took a seat to listen to him speak about “the red jacket,” and waited to take him home.
The drive back to his house was long and awkwardly quiet. He was old, it was late, and he couldn’t possibly be comfortable. I guess I was lucky he wasn’t a complainer. As we pulled into his driveway and he got out, I started to say goodbye, but Moss insisted that I come inside and he’d have his caretaker make me a meal. Feeling that I owed him something after the bumpy ride he had to endure, I went in.
The man couldn’t have been sweeter. He must have thanked me at least five times while I sat there eating soup with him. He told me stories to go along with the pictures of Rock Hudson, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, and countless others that hung on his walls. It was at this point that I finally began to realize the importance of the company I was in. He showed me around his home, introduced me to his dogs, and took me to the studio in the back of his property that housed paintings and costumes. After almost two hours, I really didn’t want to leave, but I had that long drive and he seemed exhausted. He walked me to my car, we exchanged thanks for the evening, and that was my meeting with Moss Mabry.
– Kristin Rasmussen
(Photo: Moss shows Lana Turner some sketches)