George was born on January 28, 1922 in Manhattan, one of four sons. His father, Vincent Nardiello, was the doctor for the NY State Boxing Commission, and also treated injured hockey players for the NY Americans and the NY Rangers.
He attended several colleges, including Yale, before the war, dropping out of all of them. Seeing George's interest in design, his father was able to hook him up as an apprentice with Anthony Blotta, a New York fashion designer.
George registered for the draft on June 30, 1942. He joined the 603rd, where he served in Company C. He served in Europe with the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops.
After the war, George took up his studies again. He graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York in 1948. Shortly after his graduation he and fellow Ghost Army veteran Bill Blass, Parsons '49, were among the winners of the prestigious Chicago Tribune American Fashion Competition Award. Nardiello and Blass would go on to see their designs among the winners almost every year through 1953.
In 1954, he married Italian contessa Marisa Pompei de Lassi. The Palm Beach Post article says that their daughter, Mia, their only child, was "the only baby in the fashion business who had her clothes made by Blass and Norman Norell."
In 1955, Nardiello became the designer for the personal wardrobe of Marilyn Monroe. In Norman Mailer's 1973 biography of Marilyn, he quotes her as saying she liked Nardiello because he was "well-groomed and slim and fit into [his] clothes like a beautiful hand . . . inside a glove . . . [he] was so happy inside his suit. It was like the person within . . . also had a good suit which was their own skin." He maintained his "day job," and worked with Monroe on weekends.
Nardiello says that "she was very difficult to design for because she wanted everything to look like a slip. Everything had to be skin tight. You had to reinforce every seam or everything would break."
After several years, Monroe went back to Hollywood and that was the end of their relationship. (Though he was called to her side in 1962 when he was asked to sew her into the Jean Louis dress she wore to sing "Happy Birthday" at John F. Kennedy's birthday party at Madison Square Garden.)
Other stars who wore his signature gowns included Marlene Dietrich, Mitzi Gaynor, Rosalind Russell, and Jayne Mansfield.
George and Marisa divorced about 1973. He continued to design his trademark long flowing evening gowns, and became sought after in Republican political circles. His gowns were part of the private collections hand picked by First Lady Pat Nixon and Lenore Romney (George's wife and Mitt's mother).
In about 1980, George met David Blank, and the two men developed a committed relationship that lasted for 25 years.
In 2002, George moved to Palm Springs, CA. He died on December 10, 2005 after a long illness.
To see Nardiello's full bio, with sources for all the information and photos, as well as the bios of hundreds of other Ghost Army soldiers, go to our Veteran Bio page.