Adele Balkan was born in Berkeley, California in 1907. Her father was a travelling salesman and her family moved often throughout
her childhood, living for extended periods in Boston and New York before returning to California during Balkan’s senior year
of high school. Anywhere her family resided, her mother took her to the theater and the cinema, and Balkan loved both from
an early age. She also sketched constantly, and her mother encouraged her to attend art schools. Following her graduation
from Berkeley High School in 1925, Balkan and her family returned to New York where she enrolled at the Cooper Union and majored
in art. After completing her degree in 1933, her plan was to work as a sketch artist for dress manufacturers, but when her
family had to move to Los Angeles, she decided to utilize her skills in the film industry. She applied at Paramount Pictures
and was hired for CLEOPATRA (1934), ultimately staying on as a sketch artist for the studio until 1940, first for Travis Banton,
then Edith Head. She then briefly worked as a sketch artist for fashion and costume designer Irene at Irene’s salon at Bullocks
Wilshire. By 1941 Balkan was working in film again, this time at RKO studios, not just as a sketch artist to designers like
Michael Woulfe and Edward Stevenson, but as an associate designer as well. Her design work can be seen in such RKO films as
THE BOY WITH GREEN HAIR (1948), THEY LIVE BY NIGHT (1949), and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949).
Property rights to the physical object belong to the Margaret Herrick Library. Researchers are responsible for obtaining all
necessary rights, licenses, or permissions from the appropriate companies or individuals before quoting from or publishing
materials obtained from the library.