Westmore Family, The
THE WESTMORE FAMILY
Makeup artists. George: Born in Newport, Isle of Wight, England, 27 June 1879. Mont: Born Montague George Westmore in Newport, Isle of Wight, 22 July 1902. Perc: Born Percival Harry Westmore in Canterbury, Kent, 1904 (twin of Ern). Ern: Born Ernest Henry Westmore in Canterbury, Kent, 1904 (twin of Perc). Wally: Born Walter James Westmore in Canterbury, Kent, 1906. Bud: Born Hamilton Adolph Westmore in Los Angeles, California, 1918. Frank: Born in Maywood, California, 13 April 1923. Education: George and his four oldest sons left school as youths to begin work as wigmakers or hairdressers; Bud and Frank attended various military and other schools; Frank graduated from Hollywood High School, 1938. Military Service: George: served in the British Army during Boer War. Frank: 1943–45—served in US Coast Guard: makeup artist for Coast Guard touring show Tars and Spars. Family: George: married 1) Ada Savage, 1901; 19 children, including the six sons listed above, a daughter Dorothy, and others who died young; 2) Anita Salazar, 1925; daughter: Patricia. Mont: married 1) Edith McCarrier (divorced); sons: Mont, Jr., Marvin, and Michael; 2) Cora Williams; 3) remarried Edith McCarrier, 1934. Perc: married 1) Virginia Thomas, 1924 (divorced 1936); daughters: Norma and Virginia; 2) the actress Gloria Dickson, 1938 (divorced 1940); 3) Julietta Novis, 1941; 4) Margaret Donovan, 1942; 5) Ola Carroll, 1951. Ern: married 1) Venida Snyder, 1922 (divorced 1929); daughter: Muriel; 2) Ethelyne Claire, 1930; daughter: Lynn; 3) Peggy Kent, 1940 (divorced 1940); 4) Betty Harron, 1941. Wally: married Edwina Shelton; son: James; daughter: Ann. Bud: married 1) the actress Martha Raye, 1937 (divorced 1937); 2) the actress Rosemary Lane, 1941 (divorced 1954); daughter: Bridget; 3) Jeanne Shores, 1955; sons: Robert, Timothy, and Charles; daughter: Melinda. Frank: married 1) Fran Shore, 1950 (divorced 1951); 2) Johnnie Fay Rector, 1955 (divorced 1955); 3) Gloria Christian, 1968. Career: George: 1901—opened hair dressing salon, Newport, then worked in Canterbury, Kent, until after 1906, in Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec, Canada, and Pittsburgh, San Antonio, New Orleans, Buffalo, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.; 1913—added makeup to his repertory, Cleveland; began teaching Perc and Ern the art of wigmaking when they were nine; 1917—worked at Maison Cesare, Los Angeles, then for Selig Studio (opening the first film studio makeup department), Triangle, and other studios: responsible for Mary Pickford's curls in the late 1910s. Mont: worked in lumberyard, then as busboy at Famous Players-Lasky studio; valet, then makeup artist for Rudolph Valentino (created the clean Latin look); and freelance artist for Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow, and Sonia Henie; worked for Selznick International Studios in late 1930s. Perc: worked at Maison Cesare from age 16, then worked on individual actors' hair and makeup; 1923–50—established and headed makeup department at First National (later Warner Bros.); 1950s—regular guest on Art Linkletter's House Party show (radio and TV), and special makeup artist on Queen for a Day for 11 years; then worked at Universal for two years, and again at Warner Bros.: did the TV series The Munsters and The Bill Cosby Show. Ern: 1924–28—worked at Warner Bros., then at RKO, 1929–31, 20th Century-Fox, 1935–39, then freelance; 1950s—did Hollywood Glamour Show on TV; cosmetic salesman in New York. Wally: worked as mechanic, then at Brunton studio and Warner Bros.; 1926–69—head of makeup department, Paramount. 1935–65—Mont, Perc, Ern, and Wally set up House of Westmore beauty salon, run in later years mainly by Perc (Ern sold his share, 1939). Bud: apprentice to Perc at Warner Bros. at age 15, then worked at 20th Century-Fox and as head of makeup department at Eagle-Lion Studio; 1946–70—head of makeup department, Universal. Frank: worked at House of Westmore from age 15, then apprentice at Paramount, 1942; worked at Paramount after the war, then freelance, including the TV series Bonanza, It Takes a Thief, The Jimmy Stewart Show, Planet of the Apes, and Kung Fu. Award: Ern: Special Academy Award for Cimarron, 1930. Died: George died (suicide) 12 July 1931; Mont died of a heart attack in Hollywood, April 1940; Ern died of a heart attack in New York City, 1 February 1968; Perc died of a heart attack in Hollywood, 30 September 1970; Wally died 3 July 1973; Frank died 14 May 1985.
Films as Hairdresser or Makeup Artist (selected list):
Smilin' Through (Franklin)
Blood and Sand (Niblo)
Monsieur Beaucaire (Olcott)
A Sainted Devil (Henabery)
Cobra (Henabery); The Eagle (Brown)
Son of the Sheik (Fitzmaurice); The King of Kings (DeMille)
Mexicali Rose (Kenton)
The House of Rothschild (Werker)
Mutiny on the Bounty (Lloyd)
Intermezzo (Ratoff); Gone with the Wind (Fleming)
Stella Dallas (H. King); The Lost World (Hoyt)
Captain Blood (Curtiz); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Reinhardt and Dieterle)
Cain and Mabel (Bacon); The Story of Louis Pasteur (Dieterle); The Walking Dead (Curtiz)
The Life of Emile Zola (Dieterle); Dead End (Wyler)
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (Curtiz); The Return of Dr. X (V. Sherman); Juarez (Dieterle); The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Dieterle)
Kings Row (Wood)
The Blue Veil (Bernhardt)
The Catered Affair (Brooks)
Munster, Go Home! (Bellamy)
The Arrangement (Kazan)
There Was a Crooked Man . . . (Mankiewicz)
The Sea Beast (Webb)
Way Back Home (Old Greatheart) (Seiter)
A Bill of Divorcement (Cukor)
Lost Horizon (Capra)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Mamoulian); Island of Lost Souls (Kenton)
Alice in Wonderland (McLeod)
The General Died at Dawn (Mielstone)
Spawn of the North (Hathaway); Professor Beware (Nugent)
The Great Man's Lady (Wellman)
Breakfast at Tiffany's (Edwards); One-Eyed Jacks (Brando)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford)
The Carpetbaggers (Dmytryk); Lady in a Cage (Grauman); Robinson Crusoe on Mars (Haskin)
The Oscar (Rouse); This Property Is Condemned (Pollack)
Barefoot in the Park (Saks)
The Odd Couple (Saks); Will Penny (Gries)
The Molly Maguires (Ritt); There Was a Crooked Man ... (Mankiewicz)
Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (Pichel)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (Arnold)
Tarantula (Arnold); This Island Earth (Newman)
Creature Walks among Us (Sherwood); The Mole People (Vogel)
Deadly Mantis (Juran); Land Unknown (Vogel); Man of a Thousand Faces (Pevney)
Flower Drum Song (Koster); Lover Come Back (Delbert Mann)
Lonely Are the Brave (Miller); That Touch of Mink (Delbert Mann); To Kill a Mockingbird (Mulligan)
The List of Adrian Messenger (Huston); Captain Newman, M.D. (Miller)
I Saw What You Did (Castle); The War Lord (Schaffner)
Madame X (Rich); The Plainsman (Rich)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (Hill); The War Wagon (Kennedy)
Death of a Gunfighter (Smithee); Sweet Charity (Rosse); Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (Polonsky)
Airport (Seaton); The Forbin Project (Sargent)
Soylent Green (Fleischer)
Beyond the Blue Horizon (Santell)
Tars and Spars (Green)
Let's Live a Little (Wallace)
Storm Warning (Heisler)
Rancho Notorious (F. Lang)
All I Desire (Sirk)
Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Lamont)
The Mountain (Dmytryk); The Ten Commandments (DeMille)
The Joker is Wild (C. Vidor); The Buster Keaton Story (Sheldon)
Hot Spell (Daniel Mann); Houseboat (Shavelson); The Match-maker (Anthony); The Buccaneer (Quinn)
The Rat Race (Mulligan)
My Geisha (Cardiff); Two for the Seesaw (Wise)
Irma La Douce (Wilder)
What a Way to Go! (Lee Thompson)
The Flight of the Phoenix (Aldrich)
Two Mules for Sister Sara (Siegel)
Fool's Paradise (McLaglen); The Beguiled (Siegel)
Kung Fu (Thorpe)
The Towering Inferno (Guillermin and Allen); Mr. Ricco (Bogart)
Farewell, My Lovely (Richards)
By WESTMORE family: book—
Westmore, Frank, and Muriel Davidson, The Westmores of Hollywood, Philadelphia, 1976.
By WESTMORE family: articles—
Westmore, Perc, "Make-Up and Coiffure," in Movie Merry-Go-Round, edited by John Paddy Carstairs, London, 1937.
Westmore, Perc, in Hollywood Speaks! An Oral History, by Mike Steen, New York, 1974.
Westmore, Frank, in Photoplay (London), January 1977.
Westmore, Frank, in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), July 1984.
On WESTMORE family: articles—
Elkins, M., "The Westmores: Sculpting the Faces of the World," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), July 1984.
Laimans, S., "In Laimans' Terms: George Westmore, Movie Makeup Magic," in Classic Images, no. 203, May 1992.
Essman, S., "Behind the Masks," in Cinefex (Riverside), December 1996.
* * *
A family of makeup artists all working in Hollywood would deserve a place in film history on this basis alone. However, while the six sons of George Westmore (himself best known for restyling Rudolph Valentino's hair) may not have all achieved the same degree of prominence, their careers offer more than mere curiosity value. Employed at different studios, most of their work was of the kind that does not attract attention to itself. The best known of the brothers, Bud and Wally, gained their fame through work in the horror/fantasy field where the makeup artist has the most scope for the creation of spectacular effects.
Bud Westmore had the best opportunities to make a name for himself, in that from the mid-1940s until 1970 he was head of makeup at Universal Studios (he took over from Jack Pierce, the man responsible for Boris Karloff's monster makeup in Frankenstein ). The studio's move from horror to science-fiction brought about the need for bizarre new creations. Of these, the monster in The Creature from the Black Lagoon, co-created with Jack Kevan, is Bud Westmore's most famous work. Though obviously a man (Ricou Browning) in a rubber suit, the design is striking, and some of the eerie underwater scenes are well enough staged to make audiences suspend their disbelief. Less well known, but almost as impressive, is the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth, with bulging eyes, visible brains and pincers. Perhaps the most ambitious assignment on which he worked was one outside the fantasy genre, the 1957 bio-pic of Lon Chaney, Man of a Thousand Faces. If ultimately he failed to recreate the latter's makeup designs for James Cagney, it is no reflection on his skill. No one but Chaney would be willing to endure the extremely painful devices he employed to distort his face for the required grotesque effect.
The lurid designs created by Bud Westmore for 1950s science-fiction sagas work well within the context of the overall films. Wally Westmore's work in fantasy films, while exhibiting talent, does on occasion go over the top. His makeup for the 1932 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which helped Fredric March win an Oscar, is hopelessly overdone, making the embodiment of the doctor's perverse desires look like a comical ape-man. The ugly "manimals" in Island of Lost Souls are far more effective.
Perc Westmore seems by and large to have pursued a more mainstream career in the makeup field. His most notable departure into the outlandish was Charles Laughton's makeup in the 1939 remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Aided by George Bau, Westmore created an image of extreme ugliness (to the extent of having one of Quasimodo's eyes lower than the other) which, in conjunction with Laughton's acting, is at the same time very touching.
It may seem unfair to acclaim work that by its very nature must draw audience attention to itself while more subtle effects go unappreciated. There might be a case for arguing that The Creature from the Black Lagoon required no more skill than Frank Westmore's transformation of Shirley Maclaine into a Japanese girl for My Geisha. Had none of the brothers ever ventured into the realms of the monstrous or bizarre, however, it is unlikely that they would be so well remembered, whatever their talent. Not even membership in a Hollywood family dynasty can compare with bringing to life an archetypal screen monster.