So i ADORE old movies, one of my absolute favourites is Singin’ in the Rain. Naturally as a make-up artist i am alway curious as to who does the amazing make-up.
I’ve always seen William Tuttle’s name as make-up “creator” for singin’ in the rain but on further investigation i came across the name Dorothy (Dottie) Ponedel as the key (uncredited) make-up artist and her story was beyond inspirational..and i cannot believe i stumbled upon it by accident!
Dottie moved to L.A in 1920 where she became an extra in silent films, after years of acting Dot had been learning makeup whilst watching artists work on set. In 1930 the actress Nancy Carroll demands that she has Dot as her make-up artist for the film Follow Thru.
After this she is hired as a make-up artist for Paramount, Fox and Universal studios just to name a few. Although she was working as a make-up artist and usually the KEY make-up artist, she was often uncredited and worse not allowed to work without “the supervision of a male member of the make-up union” infuriating!!
Through the years she had applied to become a part of the make-up union with the support of many amazing actresses such as Mae West and Marlene Dietrich only to be denied, this did not deter her and she continued working.
In 1940 she was given a temporary permit to work without the supervision of a man, then in 1942 after many actresses threaten to boycott their movie sets she became the first female accepted into the make-up union and was the sole female member! the union by-laws said that “applicants to the make up artist craft must be male” until the 1960’s! so she definitely was ground breaking in that scenario!
She was responsible for Judy Garlands signature make-up look, not only that but she is known as the woman who fashioned the glamour girl look of the arched, pencil thin eyebrow and hollow-high cheek bones of the 1930’s, she singled handedly created the look of hollywood for the 1930’s and made sure the union’s recognised her as equal to men..what a huge inspiration to make-up artists everywhere!
Thank you Dottie for paving the way!!
Love Katy xxx
Here are some pictures of her and her amazing work!