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Jack Pierce Makeup Artist - 1889 to 1968

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Jack Pierce 1889-1968

Legendry make-up artist Jack Pierce has created some of Universals most memorable characters, including Frankenstein, Wolf man, The Mummy and The Phantom of the Opera.

Pierce was born on May 5th 1889 in Greece. When he became a teenager he emmigrated to America with his family and remained there until he died on July 6th 1968. His childhood dream was to become a baseball player, and Pierce did. At the age of 19, he played for a semi-pro baseball team in Chicago, but Pierce was not satisfied and felt that he had the talent to go further. Against his parents wishes and with just a few dollars in his pocket, Pierce flew out to California to try out for a professional baseball team. Unfortunately, Pierce did not make the team as he did not reach the height requirements; it was not long after this Pierce began his career in the motion picture industry.

It was in 1915 when Pierce decided to train himself up as a make-up artist. He began experimenting with different products and materials to create prosthetics and different looks. Pierce was hired to work for studio productions, then in 1926, he was asked to work on the set of 'Monkey Talks'. While working on set, Pierce was given the opportunity to create the make-up for the lead Jaquis Learnier. Pierce had had no previous professional experience and taught himself how to apply make-up. Carl Laemmli, head of Universal, was impressed with Pierces creative skills and Pierce was immediately hired by Universal Motion Picture Studio. Not long after filming 'Monkey Talks', Peirce was in constant demand. He worked on, 'The man who laughs' and 'Conrad Verdict', two silent films that left audiences speechless. Lon Chaney, another make-up artist who created horrific and sometimes deformed make-up looks for horror films, passed away in 1930 allowing Pierce to step into his place. Dracula was Universals first horror film starring Bella Lugosi. Pierce made products such as grease paint especially for Lugosi to use. Lugosi requested to do his own make-up so Pierce designed his character and applied make-up to his beautiful, female victims. The year after, in 1931, Pierce worked on the set of Frankenstein, which blew audiences away. Frankenstein became the most memorable monster of all time and the film was considered the most significant creation of Pierce career. To create the monster, Pierce would spend hours applying pan stick rubber and glue to actor, Boris Karloff, who played Frankenstein. Pierces unique monstrous designs made monsters from Universal films popular. His creations were very different, like no one else's.

When it came to the 1940s, latex and other products became popular as they were cheap and easier to apply. Pierces technique was a long and uncomfortable process for the actors. In some cases, it's could



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