Ann Roth is Hollywood’s secret weapon

The designer was the trusted collaborator of — and provocateur to — a host of top directors, including Mike Nichols, Nora Ephron, Steven Spielberg, Anthony Minghella, John Schlesinger, Brian De Palma, George Roy Hill, Hal Ashby, Joe Mantello, Jack O’Brien, M.

“She rides shotgun with you,” said Mr. O’Brien, the Broadway director.

Mrs. Ruth points out a bedroom where her best friend Meryl Streep is staying when she visits. She has reprized the appearance of Mrs. Streep in 13 films, including “Silkwood,” “Heartburn,” “Postcards from the Edge,” “Doubt,” “Julie and Julia,” “The Post,” and “Mamma Mia!” In addition to the mini-series “Angels in America”. She calls it “millstrip,” echoing the way she heard the name pronounced in Italy.

She’s planning a road trip in Italy with Millstrip if she can find the right shoes to ease her knee pain.

Mrs. Ruth of Quaker. She grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch, where she wore a long string of pearls at her job as a teenager of five and ten. After graduating a class of 53 at Carnegie Mellon University, she interned with famed fashion designer Irene Sharaff, working on Brigadoon (the men’s tartan tie-dye), Judy Garland’s A Star Is Born, and The King and I.

Ms. Sharaf warned those in her care against pursuing her dream of becoming a production designer, saying, according to Ms. Roth, “It’s not the place for women.”

Mr. O’Brien said he knew Mrs. Ruth was a force to be reckoned with in 1970, when they worked on a production of The Importance of Being Earnest and suggested adorning Miss Prism, Oscar Wilde’s stern spinster governess, with a pair of tiny scissors around her waist. “So you can snipe, and snipe, and snipe, at people’s balls,” said Mr. O’Brien, laughing.