Judy Evans Steele
died November 28, 2017

Judy Evans spent more than 30 years as a costume designer and illustrator for many movies and television shows.

She and her husband began raising alpacas in the last 1990s and she became a respected ceramic artist.

Alpacas and pottery

Images of her alpaca pottery and

A private person, she nevertheless shared images of her Beauty and the Beast drawings of Vincent costumes with Angie and stayed in touch, promising to photograph more of her artwork for The Treasure Chambers, as time allowed.

Early in 2017, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Later that year she informed Angie that she was living in a hospice. Despite her health challenges, Judy was concerned about the other Beauty and the Beast artwork she had promised to photograph and in September this year, as fans celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the series, she expressed her intention to see this done.

Her son revealed that she passed away quietly at home, holding his hand.

Judy's generous sharing of her artwork is much appreciated, and on behalf of all fans, Angie extends sincere condolences to her son on his loss. Judy is held in high regard by those fortunate enough to be familiar with her art. It will always endure and inspire.
Judy Evans graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a BFA in 1965.

Her first industry job was at NBC as a dresser, then she moved into sketch artist work. She was respected as a costume illustrator, who could quickly sketch ideas brought to the costume department by a designer.

1966 found her working at Warner Brothers (now the Burbank Studios), sketching and doing assistant design work on the Academy Award Oscar winner 'Camelot' . This was almost a year-long job under Designer John Truscott.

She worked as a costume designer for a number of TV series,
the most prominent of which were:

SOAP: 92 episodes from 1977-1981

BENSON: 158 episodes from 1979-1986
IT'S A LIVING: 120 episodes
EMPTY NEST:  94 episodes
HERMANS HEAD: 25 episodes
GOLDEN GIRLS: 180 episodes 1984-1990
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: 56 episodes 1987-1989

From Bea Arthur, The Golden Girls (5'9 1/2")

She credits “Golden Girls” stylist Judy Evans with giving the characters “extra gorgeousness” and personality, just by how she dressed them.

“She knew Dorothy had a dramatic side, so she’d give me crazy earrings to wear,” Arthur recalls. “She was extraordinary.”

The other women in the seruies were 5'1" or less.

Some of the clothing gained a second life and was spotted on Beauty and the Beast - when Linda Hamilton, as Catherine, wore some of the Golden Girls nightgowns and robes.

golden girls

(Extract from “The Changing Face of Modern Television: When Costume Design Costars”

By Anna Wyckoff, Spring 2012) Costume Designers Guild (website link)

The Cult Favorite
Judy Evans

No one championed glamour going forward more than the late CDs Nolan Miller in Dynasty and William Travilla in Dallas and Knot’s Landing. Their costumes defined the next decade, as audiences tuning in for the melodrama also had an insatiable appetite for the exaggerated silhouettes. CD Judy Evans spearheaded many shows in the eighties, but two of the most influential stood in sharp contrast to the landscape of broad shouldered, waspwaisted suits. The first was The Golden Girls.

Not only did The Golden Girls gather critical acclaim, it beloved by a broad audience. Evans took the direction from the producers to create a vibrant look for the four mature leads, and ran with it. It was a breakthrough show, with Evans single-handedly redefining what “dressing your age” looked like. From Dorothy’s layered looks in intriguing fabrics paired with low boots and sophisticated jewelry to Blanche’s unabashed embrace of her femininity, The Golden Girls ensemble cast is considered by some to be the prototype for Sex and the City. Evans worked hard to keep the characters distinct and give them an optimistic vitality with color that suited their upbeat Florida surroundings. She chuckles, “I got an awful lot of fan mail!” The costumes, however, inspired such appreciation because they freed an entire generation to age gracefully and beautifully.

On the other end of the spectrum was the surprise hit Beauty and the Beast featuring actor Ron Pearlman as the benevolent Beast. Evan’s costumes combined present day, period, and fantasy in a nuanced, romantic, and poetic way that complemented the literary undertone of the show. She describes it as a seven-day-a-week prep show, as opposed to a five-day schedule. Because episodes were shot on film, there was always one show in production, one shooting, and one prepping. “That, coupled with working— I think I had three other shows at the time— was intensive. I was very compartmentalized. When I walked into Beauty and the Beast, it was all Beauty and the Beast… and I had good crews on every single show, great people to work with. Dedicated. We all worked hard, we brought a lot of professionalism to our craft.”

Return to The Judy Evans Gallery