establishing an industry that did not exist

George Westmore opened the first makeup department in 1917 at the Selig Polyscope Company.

 
 
 Selig Polyscope Company, a.k.a. The Selig Zoo, 1917.

Selig Polyscope Company, a.k.a. The Selig Zoo, 1917.

driven to succeed

The establishment of a makeup department in 1917 was a manifestation of George's relentless ambition. The inconsistency of the makeup application and the quality of hairdressing and wigs in films was enough to conjure a purpose for George. Until this time, the actors and actresses would do their own makeup and hair. Without knowing a place to begin, he knew he had to something to prove. On the way home from his work at a theatrical goods store known as Maison Cesar, he drove by Selig Polyscope Company where he stopped in to offer his hair and makeup services on-set.  He identified the need to create continuity in makeup and hairdressing.  Colonel William Selig agreed to hire him at a rate of $25 a week/part-time work. George's department was the first of its' kind and more importantly, it was the creation of what would become a new industry in the very new, Motion Picture business.


work until they know who you are

George also found work at Norma Talmadge Studios.  As a pioneer in this field,  he really began to make a name for himself from the quality of his work.  He worked with both, Norma and Constance Talmadge on many of their pictures.  The Talmadge sisters were some of the biggest stars of their day and became some of George's most notable clientle. He fostered the relationships that he made, and knew a makeup and hairdresser's bond was based on trust. George created some of the most notable hairstyles for Norma, one of the most popular idols of the 1920s. Years later, grateful for the impact she had on his career, he would open the Norma Talmadge Salon, in San Antonio, Texas.

 "Not the cheapest, but the best." - George Westmore

"Not the cheapest, but the best." - George Westmore

 George's makeup department at Norma Talmadge Studios, 1917.

George's makeup department at Norma Talmadge Studios, 1917.


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when opportunity strikes

When George was not at the studios, he was working at a theatrical goods store, Maison Cesar, solely to advance his ambition. He met actress Billie Burke who ordered a wig for her next production at Triangle Studios.  George made the wig in a day and delivered it in person. After she tried on the wig, he offered to fix her makeup. He thought her eyelashes were not full enough, so he pasted single hairs onto her own lashes and crafted the very first pair of false eyelashes.  The result was a new loyal ally and a stunning transformation. The studio offered him a position to establish his own department for $150/week. While working at Triangle Studios he would work with Douglas Fairbanks, Theda Bara, and Nita Naldi. George's work with actor, Douglas Fairbanks, would later prove to be the most beneficial for the duration his career.