The Westmores were best known for their contributions to beauty makeup and hairdressing, making up some of the most famous faces in Hollywood, however, films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1937), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) and The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1957) are all undeniable examples of groundbreaking special effects created by members of the Westmore family. The remarkable achievements of this dynasty span over 101 years, 4 generations, and more than 1,500 film and television credits.
George westmore and his six sons; Monte, the twins: Ern and Perc, Wally, Bud, and Frank, each had successful careers. At one time, there was a Westmore heading up the makeup department at almost every major studio. Together, they defined the role of makeup artists and hairdressers and set the standards for the industry they pioneered.
Set up the first makeup department in 1917. He set up a system, meticulously documenting the hairdressing and makeup for the actors in each scene, creating continuity in movie makeup.
Was a valet for Rudolph Valentino and helped to create his signature look. Created a sinister scar for Paul Muni in Scarface (1931). Some of his most notable films; Gone with the Wind (1939), Rebecca (1939), Mutiny on the Bounty (1939), and Intermezzo (1940).
The Twins: Ern and Perc
Together, they opened the makeup department at First National Pictures/Warner Brothers, devised the Seven Basic Face Shapes and founded the Makeup Artists and Hairdressers Association. Ern elongated Bette Davis’ lipline that became her signature look. He went on to open the makeup department at RKO and later became the Makeup Director at 20th Century Fox. He won the Hollywood Filmograph Award in 1931, the first award ever given to a makeup artist. Perc had a lifetime contract at Warner Brothers, but left after 26 years. He was loaned out to RKO in 1937 to change Charles Laughton in to Quasimoto for The Hunchback of Notre Dame. For Laughton, he made a lightweight foam rubber hump and a false eye that blinked.
Worked an astounding 41 years at Paramount. Best known for his work with Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly. Created the first on-screen transformation for the movie, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He used a series of red and green lights to reveal the shadows painted in red on Fredric March’s face to evolve the man into monster. Wally patented foam rubber masks that could move with the actor’s facial expressions for the movie, Alice in Wonderland (1933).
Makeup Director at Universal Pictures for 24 years. He created the molded foam rubber suiting for The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1957). He was best remembered for creating monsters, creatures, and aliens for horror and science fiction films like The Mole People (1956) and This Island Earth (1955). Bud also designed the makeup for the first teen fashion doll, Barbie in 1956.
His biggest films were Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments and My Geisha (1962), where he quite convincingly transformed Shirley MacLaine into a Geisha. Frank also worked on a makeup color chart for the television show, Bonanza, the first full color show by NBC. He was the very first Westmore to win an Emmy for the television feature film, Kung Fu (1971).
Monty began his career at Warner Brothers as an apprentice to his Uncle Perc Westmore. He followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a freelance makeup artist. His keen eye, good humor, and steady hand earned him respect from actors; Paul Newman and Joan Crawford who called Monty their personal makeup artist and had him written into their contracts. His 57 year career includes films; The Towering Inferno (1974), Hook (1991), Hero (1992), Jurrasic Park (1993), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Se7en (1995), and Where the Money Is (2000).
Marvin began his career in television, working on The Red Skelton Show (1951). He went on to work on feature films such as The Singing Nun (1966) with Debbie Reynolds and Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine. Marvin has a British Academy Award Nomination for his work on the future noir film, Blade Runner and has 6 Emmy nominations for TV series and specials; Frankenstein (1973); Elvis (1979); Space Rangers (1993); “V” The Final Battle; and “V” The Rescue.
Monte Sr.'s youngest son, Michael received an Oscar (the first and only Westmore to win an Academy Award) in 1986, recognition of his work on Mask (1984); 9 Emmy Awards, and an impressive 42 Emmy nominations over the course of his career. To date, he holds the record for receiving more nominations than any other makeup artist. Best known for his work on the Star Trek series: The Next Generation (1987); Deep Space 9 (1993), Voyager (1995), and Enterprise (2001). Michael designed makeup on the Rocky series: Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), and Rocky V(1990), Steve Martin's endearing characterization in Roxanne (1987); and has Academy Award nominations for 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984); and Clan of the Cave Bear (1986).
Michael Westmore Jr.
Michael Westmore Jr. grew up on set with his father, Michael Westmore, completely emersed in the world of special effects. His Grandfather, Monte Westmore, worked with Cecil B. DeMille, Rudolph Valentino and was the Makeup Artist for the epic film, Gone with the Wind (1939). Michael has worked for over 30 years with Makeup Artists, and as a Prosthetics Electrician. He was also a Film Editor for several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). One of the pioneers of the field of Electronic Makeup, his most notable developments were the Borg eyepieces featured in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) and the electronic appliances for the characters, Data and Jordie. Michael brings a level of expertise to the brand, Westmore Effects, drawing upon his years of experience and belief that Makeup Artists should have the best quality products to achieve optimal results.
Information provided by Christiana Benson of House of Westmore