William Tuttle, longtime head of MGM’s makeup department, died of natural causes July 27 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 95.
Born in Jacksonville, Fla., dropped out of school to support his family as a burlesque musician and came to Hollywood at age 18. His younger brother Thomas also worked as a makeup artist.
He started out as an apprentice for Jack Dawn in the 20th Century Fox makeup department working with Charles Schram, who became his longtime collaborator. He worked on three films at Fox and then moved with Dawn to MGM, where he stayed for 35 years.
Tuttle won an honorary Oscar for “The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao,” the first time the Academy recognized makeup, prior to creating a permanent makeup award. In the film, he transformed Tony Randall into seven distinctive characters.
For the 1960 film “The Time Machine,” he created the Morlocks creatures using monkey fur.
Among the hundreds of films for which he served as makeup artist or makeup designer were “Young Frankenstein,” in which he turned Peter Boyle into the title monster, “An American in Paris,” “North by Northwest,” “Forbidden Planet,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Gigi,” and “Logan’s Run.” He also worked on several episodes of “The Twilight Zone” TV series, including the “Eye of the Beholder,” in which a woman is operated on by doctors with piglike faces.
After leaving MGM, Tuttle created the Custom Color line of cosmetics which were popular among Hollywood makeup artists. He also taught makeup at USC until 1995.
He is survived by his wife, Anita, and a daughter.