Howard Smit

Makeup Artist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Howard Smit (1911-2009) talks about his early life, growing up in the Great Depression and eventually taking a job with Max Factor. He recalls doing makeup for several feature films, including "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in 1939. He describes doing makeup for early experimental television broadcasts in Los Angeles in the 1930s, and joining the hair and makeup union leadership. He discusses his involvement with the first 13 episodes of Dragnet, and on what it was like working in live television in the 1950s. Smit details some of the challenges of doing makeup for television, including creating fake blood, prosthetics, and the aging of actors when the script calls for it. Smit outlines creating the Deb Star Ball, a yearly industry event to introduce new female talent, and also chronicles helping to improve working conditions for hair and makeup artists as president of the union. He recounts doing makeup for several classic anthology series, including Schlitz Playhouse of Stars and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and working with Hitchcock on the classic features "The Birds" and "Marnie." He concludes by discussing several luminaires he worked with in his career, including Aaron Spelling, Lucille Ball, Danny Thomas, and Milton Berle. Byrd Holland conducted the interview on November 21, 1997 in North Hollywood, CA.

"When I see television I want to see what my eyes would see if I were looking at you personally. I want the true person. I don’t want to see a bunch of makeup. Therein lies the challenge of the makeup artist."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Howard Smit on doing makeup for Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Howard Smit on doing makeup for the feature film "The Wizard of Oz"
Howard Smit on doing makeup for The Red Skelton Show
Howard Smit on doing makeup for the classic feature film "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," and on working in black and white versus working in color
Howard Smit on the challenges of doing makeup on early television
Howard Smit on what hairstylists and makeup artists thought of television in the early 1950s
Topics

Pivotal Career Moments

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Howard Smit on doing makeup for the feature film "The Wizard of Oz"
Professions

Make-Up Artist

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Howard Smit on the challenges of doing makeup on early television

Stylists

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Howard Smit on the challenges of doing makeup on early television
Genres

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Howard Smit on doing makeup for the first 13 episodes of Dragnet

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