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28/08/2002

Make-up legend Tommy Manderson reaches 90

On September 13 the National Association of Screen Make-Up Artists (NASMUA) will celebrate the 90th birthday of Tommy Manderson.
This remarkable lady to whom most of the top make-up artists - either directly or indirectly - owe their career.
Her formative years were spent in India where she acquired her nickname for being such a tomboy. On her return at her Mother's suggestion she took small acting roles in the British movie industry and from there she was recruited into BBC television.
At the outset of war when television closed down she worked in the London Fire Brigade for the duration of the war.
She returned to the BBC after the war as a senior member of staff under the head of costume and make up, still working out of Alexandra Palace. As television expanded (including the start of commercial TV) the two departments separated and as most staff transferred to Lime Grove studios, at the end of the fifties she became Head of Make up.
With the proposed start of BBC2 the Television Centre was built and she was head of a department of more than 200, staying until 1968 when she retired early. One of her duties was to make up the Queen for her televised Christmas messages to the Nation, and, after she left the BBC she continued to do this for several years at the request of the Queen.
Although she retired early her career took on new dimensions in commercials and feature films including Bugsy Malone, The Mission, Gregory's Girl, Willow, Scott Of The Antartic, Orient Express and Killing Fields, for which she received an Oscar nomination. She continued to work well into her eighties with unbelievable energy and commitment to a job she loved. Her legacy will be total loyalty to work colleagues and her department.
A spokesperson for NASMUA said: "All BBC trained makeup artists owe her their heartfelt gratitude for the opportunities she gave them. Many happy returns to Tommy Manderson 90 years young."
(GB)
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