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Long, William Ivey (b. ca 1947)  
page: 1  2  3  

He has also designed for a wide range of artists, from the singers in Leonard Bernstein's opera A Quiet Place (1986) to dancers in various productions by the New York City Ballet, as well as Mick Jagger for the Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels tour (1989). His spectacular costumes enhanced the dazzling performances of magicians Siegfried and Roy at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

In partnership with Wendy Wasserstein, Long planned to launch a line of ready-to-wear fashions for women. Although their 2002 show was well received and brought orders from retailers including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue, they abandoned the enterprise when the coordination of manufacturing and distribution proved to be impractical. Long continues to design for private clients.

Architectural Restoration and Preservation

Despite the great demands of his design work, Long also finds time for his passion, architectural restoration and preservation. He has restored twelve houses and is the president of the Eastern Seaboard Trust, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation and economic development in the small town of Seaboard, North Carolina, where one of his Long ancestors settled in 1676 and the Ivey family is also well established.

Long owns five houses in Seaboard, as well as a farm, a storefront building, two grain silos, and an abandoned public school that his father once attended.

In 2001 Long brought in a team of students of urban planning at North Carolina Central University to canvass the residents about their opinions regarding the development of the town. He then had graduate students from the College of Design at North Carolina State University lead public discussions of the findings.

The community chose to turn the storefront into a doctor's clinic. The North Carolina State students volunteered to return to refurbish it.

When hiring vendors for his projects, Long insists on giving jobs to local firms. He has been working on the restoration of the school building to provide Seaboard residents with a gymnasium, classrooms, and an auditorium. He has turned an old smokehouse into a popular gathering place, a pool hall called the Swinging Ham.

For his consistent support of his home state, Long received the Roanoke Island Historical Association's Morrison Award in 1992 and the North Carolina Award in 2004.

Long has decorated his houses with furniture owned by his family since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and since 1998 he has hosted a picnic in Seaboard for the Long and Ivey families and their friends that now brings over six hundred people together. Invitations to the event are highly prized.

In 2006 Long stated, "It's encouraging to have [the family's] things around. I have a great sense of history, which I learned from them. I think that's why in the South, you hold onto things. Because they remind you." In his case, the reminders are a mixture of pride and pain, with pride winning the day.

Bachelor and Activist

Long has never found a life partner. He calls himself "a bachelor in the old sense of the word, meaning I flirt, I have many close relationships, but then I come home and like to read my book."

His friend playwright Paul Rudnick has remarked, "I think to a certain extent that the world is William's significant other. That's why the projects keep expanding. You wonder if there's a sadness or a lack there, but it's hard to imagine him being satisfied with one person, one Tony Award, one town. But he's not that old, so you never know. I would love to see who that match might be--but they're probably buried in Westminster Abbey."

Long's candor about his homosexuality itself amounts to a kind of quiet activism. He has participated in Live Out Loud's series of panel discussions that give glbtq youth the opportunity to speak with "accomplished LGBT people who are passionate about their life's work, who are making a difference in the community, and who are interested in sharing their inspirational stories."

In 2002, Long was named one of Out Magazine's 100 most influential gay people and gay allies.

Linda Rapp

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LaRue, Michelle. "William Ivey Long, Invisible Man." Backstage 33.3. (January 17, 1992): 19-20.

"NC State University News Clips for July 12-14, 2003."

Pinard, Melissa V. "A Cut Above: Costume Designer William Ivey Long '69 Dresses Broadway." William & Mary (Spring/Summer 2003): 42-45.

Rothstein, Mervyn. "A Life in the Theatre: William Ivey Long." Playbill (July 1, 2004).

"William Ivey Long's Costume Designs for the Broadway Musical Guys and Dolls." Fashion Finds (June 1999).

Wilson, Eric. "So Long to Ivey Long Collection." WWD (April 8, 2002): 2.

Witchel, Alex. "William Ivey Long Keeps His Clothes On." New York Times (January 29, 2006): 6, 34.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Long, William Ivey  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated July 27, 2010  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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