Saturday, November 17, 2007

Makeup Artist Monty Westmore R.I.P.

Monty Westmore, the legendary makeup artist whose work ranged from the small screen's Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet to the big screen's Seven, died November 12 at the age of 84 from prostate cancer.

Monty Westmore was born on June 12, 1923 in Los Angeles into the Westmore family, which included some of the most legendary makeup artists in Hollywood. His father, Monte Westmore, was the makeup artist on The King of Kings and Gone with the Wind. Monty Westmore's career began in 1943 when he apprenticed to his uncle, Perc Westmore, who had worked on such films as Public Enemy and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Westmore spent seven years at Universal working with his uncle. He received his first on screen credit on the film The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady in 1950. Westmore did makeup for such movies in the fifties as Colt .45 and Sex Kittens Go to College. He also did uncredited work on such classics as Touch of Evil. From 1961 to 1965 he did makeup on various episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. He was Joan Crawford's personal makeup artist on the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

It was in the Seventies that Westmore came into his own as a makeup artist. He worked on such films as the John Wayne movie Rio Lobo, The Life and Times and Judge Roy Bean, Uptown Saturday Night, Doc Savage: the Man of Bronze, and 3 Women. The Eighties saw Westmore do some of his most remarkable work, on such films as Fort Apache the Bronx, The Dead Pool, Alien Nation, and Blaze

The Nineties saw Westmore doing more genre films than he previously had in his career. He was the makeup artist on Hook, The Hudsucker Proxy, Jurassic Park, The Shawshank Redemption, Seven, and two Star Trek movies (Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection). Westmore worked into the naughts, doing his last work on the film adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Monty Westmore was a talented makeup artist who had a very long career in Hollywood, working well into his seventies. He worked his magic, whether credited or not, on such films as The Treasure of Sierra and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. And his talent went beyond making actors like Joan Crawford and Paul Newman look, relatively speaking, good. He created aliens for such films as Alien Nation and Star Trek: First Contact, and was responisble for some of the grisly work on Seven. He was definitely one of the best.

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