Westmores Thrive in Made-Up Worlds
Nearly every weekend in the 1940s, Michael Westmore remembers, he and his brothers, Monty Jr. and Marvin, took a streetcar from their Agnes Avenue neighborhood in North Hollywood to the movie house on Lankershim Boulevard.
Movie tickets cost 14 cents, the streetcar ride a nickel. “Another nickel would buy us enough candy,” Michael Westmore recently recalled.
Little did the boys know that they all would make their careers in movies--becoming prominent Hollywood makeup artists.
Michael, Monty Jr. and Marvin Westmore are grandsons of George Westmore, a British immigrant who established Hollywood’s first makeup department at Selig Studio in 1917. Selig was subsequently purchased by movie mogul Louis B. Mayer. George’s sons--Monty (father of the three boys), Perc, Ern, Wally, Bud and Frank--followed their father’s craft and also became noted makeup artists in early Hollywood.
In turn, Michael and his brothers followed in their father’s footsteps.
Monty Jr., 74, and Marvin, 62, both North Hollywood residents, are freelance makeup artists. Monty has also been the longtime personal makeup artist for Paul Newman.
Michael apprenticed for three years in the early 1960s at Universal Studios under Uncle Bud and John Chambers, another prominent makeup artist of the time. When Chambers left, Michael got his job.
Michael left Universal 11 years later to freelance. In 1987, he joined Paramount Pictures, where he still heads the makeup department for the “Star Trek” series.
Michael, 59, who lives in Encino, has been nominated for 32 Emmys and has won nine. He also has received four Oscar nominations and won one Academy Award, for the movie “Mask” in 1986. His most recent Oscar nomination was earlier this year for “Star Trek: First Contact.”