Welcome to the Westmore Museum Blog, as President of the George Westmore Research Library & Museum, I am excited to express my enthusiasm for this technological advancement which the Internet offers the world. “To teach is to touch the Future,” we also aim to touch the world via the Internet.
A museum can be a dark, cold, quiet environment for the objects that are preserved and for the people who work in this profession – but a Blog offers a bright, noisy, warm environment for ideas a constant stream of information. I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities which this Blog will create for the research library and museum.
At an early age I had the fortunate opportunity, (thanks to my parents) to travel the United States visiting cities and towns, learning about our history, people along with the rich culture which this country has to offer. I find it even more fortunate to be working in an industry which my family has been involved in since the era of silent movies. This enjoyable effort is truly close to my heart.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you can learn more about Hollywood’s First Family of Makeup – The Westmore family and their contributions to Hollywood’s Motion Picture History by visiting
To follow regular updates of Westmore Film Screenings
as well as our Internet virtual tour at
I look forward at having guest postings on this Blog from our board members, celebrity advisers, museum staff as well as the Hollywood Film Industry. If you have information or connections, which the Research Library & Museum can benefit from, please contact us by way of this e-mail (info@WestmoreMuseum.com), or through this Blog – we would love to learn more.
President of The Westmore Museum
Let’s start with a little information about who this institution is named after: George H. Westmore
IN THE BEGINNING:
George Henry Westmore born in Newport, Isle of Wight, England was a wigmaker, saloon manager, makeup artist of Cockney Brit(ish); served in the British Army during Boer War, (Two wars fought during 1880–1881 and 1899–1902 by the British Empire against the settlers of two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic) worked as a wigmaker and saloon manager in England; (Winston Churchill was said to have thought of him highly as a barber).
George Westmore career began in 1901 he opened a hair dressing salon, Newport, then worked in Canterbury, Kent, until after 1906, in Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec, Canada, and Pittsburgh, San Antonio, New Orleans, Buffalo, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. In 1913 he added makeup to his repertory, Cleveland; began teaching Perc and Ern the art of wigmaking when they were nine; 1917 he was working at Maison Cesare, Los Angeles, first began at Selig Polyscope Studio moving on to Triangle Film Corporation (a.k.a. Triangle Motion Picture Company), and other studios: responsible for Mary Pickford’s curls in the late 1910s. George’s greater contribution, though, may have been in fathering six sons, all of whom went into makeup design.
George Westmore founded the first (tiny) makeup department at a motion picture studio at Selig Polyscope Studios, (1917) in Edendale, a suburb of Los Angeles next to Hollywood, developing techniques still in use today.
Selig, William (1864-1948), U.S. motion picture pioneer, born in Chicago, Ill.; actor, theatrical manager 1888-99; improved early motion picture camera; produced first long historical motion picture Coming of Columbus’. Selig Polyscope Co. Selig set up his studio (1909), with director Francis Boggs, who began the facility in a rented bungalow and quickly expanded, designing the studio’s front entrance after Mission San Gabriel. An early production there was The Count of Monte Cristo. Edendale soon became Selig Polyscope’s headquarters. Selig produced almost a thousand movies and was responsible for developing new film talent such as Roscoe Arbuckle along with early cowboy western stars Gilbert M. “Bronco Billy” Anderson and Tom Mix.
George Westmore like Max Factor, Sr., understood that cosmetic and hair needs were personal and would do makeup on stars such as Mary Pickford (whom he relieved of having to curl her famous hair daily by making false ringlets) or the Talmadge sisters in their homes before they left for work in the morning.
George and his sons built their own shops; they were all very handy with carpentry and plumbing. Usually back when films began, in the entertainment industry, Actors and Actresses did their own makeup. No single person was responsible for the hairstyling or makeup many times actors would help one another. George: married 1) Ada Savage, 1901; 19 children, including the six sons, a daughter Dorothy, and others who died young; 2) Anita Salazar, 1925; daughter: Patricia.