40-year career spanned TV and film
TV and film makeup artist Mel Berns Jr. died in Beverly Hills on June 23. He was 71.
Born in Beverly Hills, he graduated from Beverly Hills High School and continued his education at UCLA. Soon thereafter he began his showbiz career in 1961 as an agent at the William Morris Agency.
After a year and a half, Berns left the suit-and-tie world to learn from and follow in the footsteps of his father. Mel Berns Sr., who helped start the make-up union in the 1920s and was head of makeup at RKO for 20 years. Berns Sr. was the key makeup artist on “Citizen Kane.”
During a career in the field that lasted 40 years, Berns Jr. was a makeup artist on TV shows including “The Flying Nun,” “The Partridge Family,” “Hotel,” “The New Mike Hammer” and “The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.”
As makeup supervisor on “Charlie’s Angels,” he worked with Jaclyn Smith on every episode and with Farrah Fawcett.
Berns Jr. also worked on a number of telepics, including “Conspiracy of Terror,” “The Users,” “A Question of Love” and “The Pride of Jesse Hallam,” as well as on the 1984 documentary “Going Hollywood: The ’30s.”
His film credits include “Gidget Goes to Rome” (1963), “The Last of the Finest,” “Wayne’s World” and “Mad Dog Time” (1996).
Berns Jr. also did makeup for Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ronee, whom he met while both worked at WMA; two sons; and his mother.