Walter Plunkett was born in Oakland, California, USA, in 1902. He studied law at the University of California, although he had intended to be an actor.
He reached Hollywood and turned his hand to designing costumes for films. In 1926, he was appointed head of the Wardrobe department of RKO Studios. He did two years freelance work alongside, but remained with RKO until 1935.
He worked for 12 years as a freelance costume designer, then in 1947 Plunkett joined MGM where he stayed until 1965.
Walter Plunkett was a very respected costume designer, who contributed to hundreds of films. His speciality was historical films. One of the most famous was "Gone with the Wind" in 1938. Scarlett O'Hara's dress at the barbecue was one of the most copied dresses in film.
He also designed costumes for the musical based on the 1920's "Singing in the Rain" in 1951. He was nominated 11 times for an Oscar. He only won once for "American in Paris" a picture.
He retired from active work in 1965, and died in 1982 at the age of 80.