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Jack Dawn

Jack Dawn

Jack Dawn (February 10, 1892 - June 20, 1961) was an American make-up artist whose career spanned thirty-seven years. He worked on more than two hundred films, many of them regarded as classics by historians and moviegoers alike.

As a boy living on a Kentucky farm, Dawn chopped faces in sandstone he found on the banks of a nearby creek, using a chisel, a hammer, and a spoon. He eventually gravitated to Hollywood, where he found work as an extra, portraying an Indian brave for $3 a day. He served with the British during World War I, then returned to the American film capital to work as a make-up assistant and part-time actor at Universal Pictures. One of his first creations was a stiff, uncomfortable mask he wore in the role of an ape in 1925. In order to make masks that were more elastic and lifelike, he began to experiment with a variety of materials. After nine years of research while working at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he developed a synthetic plastic he called vinylite resin for which he received a patent. Its first application was used to create the Chinese faces for the mostly white cast of The Good Earth in 1937.

Two years later, Dawn was assigned the task of giving life to three non-human characters - a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion - in MGM's now-classic musical film The Wizard of Oz, based on L. Frank Baum's novel. He also created the green makeup for Wicked Witch of the West Margaret Hamilton and multiple looks for Frank Morgan, who portrayed five different characters in the film, as well as for the Munchkins. His work resulted in some of the most recognizable makeup designs ever created for a Hollywood production.

In 1943, Dawn approached the San Diego Naval Hospital with an offer to help World War II soldiers whose faces and hands had been disfigured in battle. He created inlays that helped patients appear normal between multiple plastic surgery operations.

Dawn worked with many of Hollywood's legendary performers, including Laurel and Hardy, Greta Garbo, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Greer Garson, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Ingrid Bergman, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner, Fred Astaire, and Betty Hutton.

Dawn died in Glendale, California, five years after retiring from films. He was buried with an unmarked grave in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

Jack Dawn Movies : Filmography

Mystery Street

Mystery Street

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1950  

Three Little Words

Three Little Words

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1950  

Father of the Bride

Father of the Bride

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1950  

Stars In My Crown

Stars In My Crown

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1950  

On the Town

On the Town

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1949  

Adam's Rib

Adam's Rib

Released: 1949  

Neptune's Daughter

Neptune's Daughter

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1949  

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1949  

The Kissing Bandit

The Kissing Bandit

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1948  

Easter Parade

Easter Parade

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1948  

Undercurrent

Undercurrent

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1946  

Ziegfeld Follies

Ziegfeld Follies

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1945  

Meet Me in St. Louis

Meet Me in St. Louis

Released: 1944  

The Canterville Ghost

The Canterville Ghost

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1944  

Gaslight

Gaslight

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1944  

The Man from Down Under

The Man from Down Under

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1943  

The Human Comedy

The Human Comedy

Released: 1943  

Tortilla flat

Tortilla flat

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1942  

Nazi Agent

Nazi Agent

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1942  

The Vanishing Virginian

The Vanishing Virginian

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1942  

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Released: 1941  

The Philadelphia Story

The Philadelphia Story

Released: 1940  

20 Mule Team

20 Mule Team

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1940  

Strange Cargo

Strange Cargo

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1940  

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1939 Rated:

Miracles For Sale

Miracles For Sale

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1939  

Goodbye Mr. Chips

Goodbye Mr. Chips

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1939  

Broadway Serenade

Broadway Serenade

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1939  

Stand Up and Fight

Stand Up and Fight

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1939  

Boys Town

Boys Town

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1938  

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1938  

Trouble for Two

Trouble for Two

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1936  

Mark of the Vampire

Mark of the Vampire

Released: 1935  

Reckless

Reckless

Costume & Make-Up

Released: 1935  

The Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle

Costume & Make-Up