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R.I.P. Ret Turner, Emmy-winning costume designer for Carol Burnett and Cher

Television in the 1970s would look so much different without him.

Image: Lucille Ball Comedy Festival

Ret Turner, one of the most sought after costume designers in television history, passed away Tuesday night at the age of 88.

Like anyone arriving in Hollywood in the 1950s, Turner started out at the bottom and worked his way to the top. He originally set out to become an actor, but when his aspirations failed to pan out, he got a job in the wardrobe department at NBC. Eventually, he climbed the ladder to become the head of the department for 20 years.

Turner gained fame in the 1970s by pairing with Bob Mackie to create costumes for some of the biggest variety shows and specials of the decade. He frequently designed gowns for a number of shows featuring Cher, including The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and its follow-up, The Sonny and Cher Show.

Nominated for 24 Emmy Awards throughout his career, Turner picked up five trophies for musical specials starring Mitzi Gaynor and Diana Ross, series like Mama's Family and Carol & Company, and a star-studded television special for the 75th anniversary of Las Vegas. 

Throughout his career, Turner also worked with television stars including Lucille Ball, Bea Arthur, Lily Tomlin and Marie Osmond. In addition to television, the costume designer also worked on the opening of Disneyland 1955, Disney World in 1971 and EPCOT in 1982. 

Turner never slowed down, having recently worked on this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony. 

"The costumes added a different element to the show," Turner said about designing for variety shows, a genre synonymous with the 1970s. "People now feel they get in the way of the show... That's why we don't do them anymore."

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