A scene from the 1963 historical drama, "The Leopard," featuring work by costume designer Piero Tosi.
A veteran of luminous films by such directors as Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica and Franco Zeffirelli, Tosi earned five Academy Award nominations during his career for designs that brought elegance, artistry, passion and humor to neo-realist dramas, historical romances and farcical comedies, including "Death in Venice," "The Damned," and "La Cage Aux Folles."
The designer will be honored with a lifetime achievement Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, at the 5th annual Governors Awards, on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013.
By CBSNews.com senior producer David Morgan
Piero Tosi holds a career Golden Globe Award received during a ceremony at Rome's Cinecitta Studios, Saturday, June 24, 2000.
In April 2013 Tosi told Port Magazine that his film career started with a bit of luck, accepting early assignments as an assistant in costume departments working for Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli. In his early 20s, he was asked to design costumes for Visconti's 1952 film, "Bellissima," starring Anna Magnani. It would be the first of at least 60 motion picture and TV credits.
Alida Valli and Farley Granger starred in Luchino Visconti's period drama "Senso" (1954), about a married Italian countess' affair with an Austrian army officer.
Visconti's 1957 romantic drama "Le Notti Bianche (White Nights)" starred Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell as a man and woman with a chance to overcome their loneliness.
"Rocco and His Brothers" (1960), by Luchino Visconti, starred Renato Salvatori and Annie Girardot in a neo-realist drama of a family from the south of Italy that emigrates North, to find passion and violence in the city.
Claudia Cardinale and Marcello Mastroianni in "Bell' Antonio" (1960).
Mauro Bolognini's "La Viaccia (The Lovemakers)" (1961) starred Jean-Paul Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale.
In "Boccaccio '70" (1962), four directors tell stories adapted from the anthology of moral tales by 14th century writer Giovanni Boccaccio, "The Decameron,"
Left: Anita Ekberg (who played herself) with director Federico Fellini.
Piero Tosi received his first Academy Award nomination for Luchino Visconti's 1963 historical drama, "The Leopard." Based on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel, the film starred Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon in a story set in the waning days of Italy's aristocracy.
Piero Tosi's sumptuous costumes for the ballroom sequence of Luchino Visconti's 1963 historical drama, "The Leopard."
One of Piero Tosi's costume designs for Luchino Visconti's 1963 historical drama, "The Leopard."
Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale in "The Leopard" (1963). Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Claudia Cardinale in "The Leopard" (1963). Costume by Piero Tosi.
"You need a special character to do this job," Tosi said in a 2007 Italian documentary, "The Dress and the Face: Portrait of Piero Tosi." "And you need love, a great love of faces … You can read marvelous things into faces. Faces lead me to makes thousands of conjectures."
A Piero Tosi costume from "The Leopard," at an exhibition of theater and cinema costumes at the Villa Medici in Rome, January 26, 2006.
In the 1966 farce "After the Fox," directed by Vittorio De Sica, Peter Sellers played a thief who plots to smuggle two tons of gold into Europe by masquerading as a director shooting a movie about (what else?) a treasure being brought ashore in a small fishing village eager to star in his "film." Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Sophia Loren played three roles (including a black marketeer, a rich businessman's wife, and a prostitute) in Vittorio De Sica's 1963 anthology comedy, "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Silvana Mangano wears one of Piero Tosi's creations in a 1967 anthology film about witchcraft and sorcery, "Le streghe (The Witches)." The international cast also included Helmut Berger and Clint Eastwood.
Piero Tosi designed costumes for Pier Paolo Pasolini's 1969 film of the Greek tragedy, "Medea."
Luchino Visconti's "The Damned" (1969) dramatized the amorality of Nazism during the Third Reich's rise to power in the 1930s. The story traced the effects of the political upheaval in Germany on a wealthy family entangled with, then targeted by, the Gestapo.
Left: Ingrid Thulin and Dirk Bogarde. Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Helmut Berger as a transvestite channeling Marlene Dietrich in Luchino Visconti's "The Damned" (1969). Costume by Piero Tosi.
Dirk Bogarde as an ailing composer who becomes fixated upon an adolesent boy, in Luchino Visconti's 1970 adaptation of Thomas Mann's "Death in Venice." Costumes by Piero Tosi, who received his second Academy Award nomination for the film.
Silvana Mangano in Luchino Visconti's "Death in Venice" (1970). Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Bjorn Andresen as Tadzio, the Polish adolescent who become an object of obsession for Dirk Bogarde, in Luchino Visconti's "Death in Venice" (1970). Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Piero Tosi's costumes for the Luchino Visconti film, "Death in Venice," on display at the Villa Medici in Rome, January 26, 2006.
Costume designer Piero Tosi received his third Oscar nomination for "Ludwig" (1972), Luchino Visconti's story of the Bavarian King Ludwig II.
Left: Romy Schneider as Empress Elisabeth, in "Ludwig."
Costumes by Piero Tosi from the Luchino Visconti film, "Ludwig," are exhibited at the Villa Medici in Rome, January 26, 2006.
A detail of a costume designed by Piero Tosi for the film "Ludwig," during an exhibition of theater and film costumes at the Villa Medici in Rome, January 26, 2006.
The life of Friedrich Nietzsche is told in the 1977 drama, "Beyond Good and Evil," starring Erland Josephson, Robert Powell and Dominique Sanda. Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Michel Serrault as Albin, and Ugo Tognazzi as Renato, a homosexual couple who must entertain the conservative parents of Renato's son's fiancee, in the comedy hit, "La Cage aux Folles" (1978). Piero Tosi earned his fourth Oscar nomination for costumes.
Michel Serrault, the star at the gay nightclub run by Ugo Tognazzi (center), is seen on stage in "La Cage aux Folles" (1978). Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Isabelle Huppert and Fabrizio Bentivoglio starred in Mauro Bolognini's 1981 drama, "The Lady of the Camellias." Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Luchino Visconti's last film, "The Innocent" (1976), starred Laura Antonelli as a rich man's wife who, upon learning of her husband's adultery, engages in an affair of her own. Costumes by Piero Tosi.
Piero Tosi received his fifth Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design for Franco Zeffirelli's 1982 film of the opera, "La Traviata," starring Placido Domingo and Teresa Stratas.
Piero Tosi's costumes for a 1996 production of the opera "Don Carlo" by Italian director Mauro Bolognini, exhibited at the Villa Medici in Rome, January 26, 2006.
Left: "La Cage aux Folles" (1978). Costumes by Piero Tosi.
The Governors Awards for lifetime achievement, to Steve Martin, actress Angela Lansbury, and costume designer Piero Tosi, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, to Angelina Jolie, will be presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Saturday, November 16, 2013, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, Calif.