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Gwen Wakeling (1901-1982) was born in Detroit. Her father's work as a mining engineer caused the family to move every few years. Wakeling attended primary and secondary schools in Seattle; San Francisco; Prescott, Arizona; Los Angeles; Berkeley; and Oakland. After graduating from high school, her first job was as a fashion artist for a department store. Wakeling went on to work for Cecil B. DeMille at both Pathé and Paramount Studios and was head costume designer at Fox Studios from 1933 to 1942. A turning point in her career occurred in about 1941 with a death in her family and her own serious illness due to a ruptured appendix. The next year she left Fox, went freelance, and married writer-director Henry J. Staudigl in Arlington, Virginia. Wakeling was a charter member of the Costume Designers Guild. She also designed clothes for celebrity clientele and commercial use. In the 1960s she worked on numerous Los Angeles Civic Light Opera productions. Wakeling received an Academy Award for color costume design for "Samson and Delilah" (1949).