William J. Tuttle

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The Independent Online

I first heard the name of William J. Tuttle when Sophia Loren mentioned it to me during an interview more than 40 years ago, writes Revel Barker [further to the obituary by Tom Vallance, 11 August].

She was making a movie called Lady L co-starring Paul Newman and David Niven and was required by the script, written and directed by Peter Ustinov, to age from 18 to 80. Looking 18 was no problem for La Loren (she was 30 at the time) but progressing through six more decades required all the ingenuity of Mr Tuttle, who was MGM's top make-up man.

The ageing process on Loren's face and neck took hours every morning as layers of rubber were overlaid and etched with wrinkles and crows' feet, capillary tubes simulated prominent veins, and bags were created beneath her stunning brown, green-tinged, almond-shaped eyes. How accurate his work was can be judged by comparing pictures of the 80-year-old Lady L character with recent pictures of the former movie star, who will be 73 next month.

To me – but I am biased – the basic effect was to make the then most beautiful woman in the world look like the most beautiful woman in the world with tons of stage make-up. I saw her on television recently and she looked less like the aged Lady L in the movie and more like she had looked when we met in 1965.