Sep 05, 2023

By Jeremy Logan

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You might not be familiar with her name, but if you stayed up late on Saturday nights in the 1970’s, odds are you’re familiar with her work.

Tony award-winning costumer and set designer Franne Lee has died at the age 81.

Lee joined the fledgling Saturday Night Live and created the styles of some of the NBC’s late-night show’s most iconic characters including the Coneheads played by Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain; the Nerds; Gilda Radnor’s Roseanne Roseannadanna and the Blues Brothers.


Lee was a top costume designer on Broadway in the 70’s, winning Tony Awards in 1974 and 1979 for two musicals directed by Harold Prince: Candide and the original production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and it was her work on Candide that caught the eye of  Toronto-born SNL producer Lorne Michaels.

According to her daughter, Franne Lee died August 27 in Atlantis, Florida, following a brief illness.

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