Costume designer Denise Cronenberg, who often worked on her brother David's films like The Fly and Dead Ringers, and also went on to work on projects like The Incredible Hulk, Resident Evil: Afterlife, and Shoot 'Em Up, has passed away at the age of 81 due to complications from old age, per Globe and Mail. Denise passed away on May 22nd in Burlington, Ontario and, much like her brother, was a powerful figure in the Canadian film industry, lending her talents to a number of projects filmed in the area. She is survived by three children, which includes filmmaker Aaron Woodley, as well as five grandchildren.
“I don’t think that she got the recognition she deserved, and I’m quite sure that she felt the same way,” David shared in a statement. “We’re Canadian, so we tend not to be self-promoters, and she certainly wasn’t. But at the same time, you take a lot of pride in your work, so you would like to be recognized, but don’t want to beg for it. I think she was disappointed on that level.”
In addition to David's films like Naked Lunch, Crash, eXistenZ, and Spider, Denise also worked on films like Murder at 1600, The Caveman's Valentine, and Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead.
Despite her prominence in genre films, her career required her to deliver a number of different costumes across a wide variety of time periods, such as 2011's A Dangerous Method, focusing on the complex relationships between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud on the cusp of World War I.
“We’d go and hunt down old shoe stores to dig around until we found fabulous things – there was always something for her to research, to discover,” Brenda Gilles, her long-time set supervisor, explained. “It’s a very complex thing, costuming, as you’re dealing with so many elements.”
Gilles added, "There are so many subliminal things in costume design that are important, but she was always about complimenting, and never distracting.”0comments
David noted of his sister's work on period pieces, “As a costume designer for those films, you’re putting yourself into the headspace of a designer of the era, not a modern designer, so you’re trying to adhere to the aesthetic tropes of the time while also creating something unique. You’re creating something that didn’t exist at the time, but could have.”
Our thoughts go out to the Cronenberg family and their friends in this difficult time.
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