A Bewitching Manicure - Legendary makeup man, Charles Gemora, puts finishing touches on the rubber gauntlets worn by Karen Dolan for the 1962 action fantasy film, Jack the Giant Killer. Gemora died from a fatal heart attack a few months after his work on the film in August 1961. (AP photo via Flashbak)
Philippine-born Charles Gemora’s 40-year career span in Hollywood was remarkable and diverse. He worked in set-design and/or sculpting on films like Victor Hugo’s, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), Douglas Fairbanks’ The Black Pirate (1926), and Universal’s Nightlife of the Gods (1935). His research and expertise in ape costuming designs and portrayal gave him the moniker, Hollywood’s Gorilla Man - his work in this area is a signature of his career. Gemora’s makeup work was creative, inventive, and influential. He tutored Harry Ray on how to makeup Dorothy Lamour in The Jungle Princess (1936), and assisted fellow artists Jack Dawn, Cecil Holland, Robert Schiffer, and William Tuttle, when Caucasian actors were to portray Asians for The Good Earth (1937). His work with Barbara Stanwyck in The Great Man’s Lady (1942) is considered one of the most realistic age makeups ever placed on celluloid. One of the most interesting of Charles Gemora assignments was his creation of the three-eyed Martian in the sci-fi horror classic, War of the Worlds (1953) - at the last minute it was decided that the creature/costume was too large, Gemora, with the help of his daughter Diana (age 12) rebuilt it overnight. Gemora performed as the Martian the next day. Gemora also was an inventor - his accomplishments in that area include his work in the development of 3D cinema.
Charles Gemora entering the Martian suit he designed, built, and wore for War of the Worlds (1953). (image via hollywoodgorillamen.com)