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Sunday, October 12, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Patricia Barto Hrdlicka, 80, Was Film Costume Designer

Seattle Times Snohomish County Bureau

Former Lynnwood mayor M.J. "Herk" Hrdlicka was the natural center of attention when he attended social events - until people discovered his wife.

Gracious, strong-willed and strikingly beautiful, Patricia Barto Hrdlicka captivated the town with stories of her glamorous career in Hollywood and with her broad range of interests and talents.

Mrs. Hrdlicka, who died Tuesday (Oct. 7) at the age of 80, had worked as a costume designer in Hollywood for decades.

She rode a pink bicycle between sets - even after Elvis Presley stole it as a joke one day. She created dresses for Presley's movie loves and outfits for Catwoman and other villains in the 1960s "Batman" TV show; and she hobnobbed with Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and other stars, family members said.

She was raised in Seattle, graduated from Franklin High School, and then moved to California when she was still a teenager, said her sister, Toby Braathen of Mukilteo.

"She was a resourceful, independent woman," her sister said.

Mrs. Hrdlicka acted in bit movie parts, and painted portraits of stars, such as Clark Gable, when they visited Catalina Island, Calif. Later she went to Paramount to work in costume design.

"She was close friends with all the major motion-picture stars of that era," working on most of the big pictures, her sister said. "One time (when visiting) we had dinner with Johnny Cash. I had lunch with Yul Brynner at the Paramount commissary."

After retiring, she returned to Washington state to take care of her ailing mother. She then met Hrdlicka, who was Lynnwood's mayor at the time. He was mayor for 25 years before retiring in 1993.

Hrdlicka remembered an early date to a meeting on excise taxes. He warned her she would be bored, and briefly left her at the table.

"By the time I got back, she knew everyone at the table and was right at home," he said. "When it was over, she said `Well, that was interesting!' "

She loved to watch football, read medical journals, and learn about astronomy and math. She maintained her love for art and painted portraits.

"She was probably one of the classiest ladies I've ever seen," said current Lynnwood Mayor Tina Roberts.

"She would just walk into a room and people would turn their heads to look at her, she was so stunning," Roberts said. "And she had a personality to go with it."

Besides her husband and sister, Mrs. Hrdlicka is survived by a daughter from a previous marriage, Toby Williams of California; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Purdy & Walters at Floral Hills Chapel, 409 Filbert Road in Lynnwood.

Rebekah Denn's phone message number is 425-745-7804. Her e-mail address is: rden-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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