LGBTQ Heroes: Bob Mackie

The gay man who became one of the world's leading costume designers.

LGBTQ Heroes: Bob Mackie

Bob Mackie is fashion designer and costumier. His work has helped define the careers of iconic performers such as Cher, Liza Minelli, and Diana Ross.

Early life

Mackie was born in 1939 in California.

After school, he went on to college to study art, but left before graduating as he got a job in costume design for Paramount Studios.

Professional career

Mackie began working as a sketch artist for costume desingers, but by 1966 he had landed his first major client – Mitzi Gaynor.

Mackie’s career continued to grow from there.

Diana Ross was an early client – Mackie first designed for Diana Ross in 1969. Mackie has continued to design for Diana Ross throughout the decades.

Mackie became known for creating an extravagant showgirl style of costume – perfect for female performers looking to hold an audience’s attention on stage.

Cher is another client whose career has long been associated with the creations of Bob Mackie.

He has won numerous awards for his costume design – including at least nine Emmy Awards.

Personal life

In 1960, Mackie married a woman – Lulu Porter – and they had a son, Robin. Robin died at the age of 33, killed by an AIDS-related illness.

Mackie’s longest relationship was with Ray Aghayan. They worked together for decades, sharing their lives together until Aghayan’s death in 2011.