Robert Fletcher, Star Trek Costumer Designer, Dies at 98

Robert Fletcher, the costume designer who created the iconic looks of the first four Star Trek movies, has died. He was 98 years old and died peacefully in Kansas City, Missouri according to a spokesman. Fletcher defined the looks of characters -- human and alien -- in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. He helped update the looks of the Vulcans and the Klingons for the big screen. Fletcher's most notable contribution is arguably the marron Starfleet uniforms that debuted in The Wrath of Khan. The outfits leaned into the naval feel director Nicholas Meyer hoped to establish for the cinematic Starfleet.

The uniforms became the defining look for the original Enterprise crew's silver screen exploits, and the uniforms went on to appear in flashbacks in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. Despite that, no one working on the film was entirely happy with the costumes, which were nicknamed the "monster maroon" uniforms. That included Fletcher, who in 2002 told Star Trek: The Magazine “I don’t blame them. I didn’t like them much myself!”

Robert Fletcher Death Star Trek Costumes
(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Fletcher was also known for his work Broadway, which earned him three Tony Awards nominations. He worked with Lincoln Kirstein and Jerome Robbins and designed the original costumes for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Walking Happy. He also did costume work for Orson Welles’s production of Shakespeare’s King Lear. His other Broadway work included Little Me, High Spirits, Borstal Boy, The Flying Karamazov Brothers, and the revival of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Fletcher earned Tony nominations for Little Me, High Spirits, and Hadrian VI. He also earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for the 1982 production of Othello starring James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer.

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Fletcher also worked on the Off-Broadway revival of Best Foot Forward starring Liza Minnelli and Christopher Walken in 1963. He worked on costumes and sets for the show.

In television, Fletcher’s career included design work for The Hollywood Palace and The Dean Martin Show. He earned a primetime Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special for North and South, Book II. In 2005 he was awarded the Career Achievement Award from the Costume Designers Guild, which Leonard Nimoy presented to him. He received the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for his set design from the Theatre Development Fund in 2008.