Glenn Strange gets a fresh coat of paint as he is being transformed into the Frankenstein Monster by makeup genius Jack Pierce.
On this day, May 5th, in 1889, Jack Pierce was born. A Greek immigrant in America, he was a baseball player, a silent movie actor and stuntman, and eventually, a makeup artist. Becoming Head of Universal’s Makeup Department at a time of unparalleled effervescence, Pierce created the wolfmen, the living mummies and all the memorable movie monsters — including a certain Bride — we have come to regard as the classics. The crowning achievement, of course, was his brilliant design for the monster of Frankenstein.
In the early days before modern movie cosmetics and lightweight foam appliances, Pierce painstakingly built up his remarkable creations with wax, cotton, greasepaints and crude chemicals. In 1935, he designed an early reusable “appliance”, casting The Monster’s towering forehead in rubber.
Despite his years of service and his incalculable contributions, Pierce was summarily let go in a management shuffle at Universal in 1947. He continued working as a freelancer for movies and TV. A legend today, he died in relative obscurity, in 1968.
Jack Pierce on Wikipedia, featuring links to interesting sites.