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June 7: The Make-Up Man

June 7, 2013

3a62719832a2933eee6b54f038bc349eMax Factor, Jr., who created pancake make-up and smear-proof lipstick, and built on his father’s innovations in early Hollywood to build a cosmetics empire, died at 91 in Los Angeles on this date in 1996. His Polish-born father, Maksymilian Faktorowicz, had been apprenticed at 9 to a wigmaker and cosmetician and had developed into a well-known theatrical make-up artist. After emigrating to the U.S. and establishing the Max Factor cosmetics company in time for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, the renamed Factor moved to Los Angeles and became a pioneer in movie make-up, helping to create the images of Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Jean Harlow, Mary Pickford, and Gloria Swanson, to name a few. His son, Frank, who renamed himself Max Factor, Jr., popularized the term “make-up,” which had formerly been reserved for theater people, and took his father’s Hollywood business into the broad world, building the Max Factor Cosmetics empire.

“To be an actor / See Mr. Factor / He’ll make your pucker look good!” —“Hooray for Hollywood,” 1937, Johnny Mercer