Creepy At First

This has been edited on April 18, 2011 for accuracy.

The other day the tall one and I went out thrifting together. As I was checking out at a local thrift shop a clown drawing flashed in front of me. Creeped out I instantly shook my head NO but then more were shown to me and I gave the whole lot  a second look. These clowns, I realized were actually movie stars and presidents. Now I was intrigued, so much so that I agreed to buy all 26 of these zany pastel drawings.

I came home and started to research the name on the drawings, Horvatich, mainly because I was so curious who would create these. Here is what I discoverd about the artist. His name was Rudy Horvatich and he was the head of Make-up at ABC-TV for 38 years. He was a Stylist for TV shows such as “The Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Show” (makeup artist) (1962), Western Hit Parade (makeup artist) (1962), The 3rd Annual American Comedy Awards, The 51st Annual Academy Awards (1979) (makeup department head) through to The 60th Annual Academy Awards (1988) (makeup department head). Horvatich covered up Milton Berle’s wrinkles, made Lawrence Welk feel young again and gave pep talks to the Lennon sisters when they were just starting out.

He was also an image consultant to five Presidents of the United States. Rudy Horvatich did President Kennedy’s make for The Great Debates: Kennedy vs. Nixon, 1960. Mr. Horvatich died in 1989 at age 81 (corrected by family he died at age 71) From the Post-Tribune (IN) “Success obviously didn’t spoil ABC makeup man Rudy Horvatich. While showing friends from Northwest Indiana the six television monitors in his Hollywood office, Horvatich wryly commented, “Not bad for a little Yugoslav from Gary.” “

More about him from his nephew:

Rudy Horvatich was my uncle. He left Gary after WWII to seek work in California. he became interested in makeup and pioneered techniques for early Black and White television. He was captured in WWII at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in 1943 and spent time as a POW captured by the Germans. He made it across to Allied lines weighing 110 lbs. (normally weighing 160 or better), escaping as the Germans abandoned their posts as the Russians approached. My father, (his brother) is now 88 plus. Rudy had the friendship of many Hollywood notables, who respected his humility and enjoyed his company.
Here  are just a few of them –

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7 responses

  1. I enjoyed the drawings. My aunt (she married my dad’s brother) used to mention Rudy H. whenever the Lawrence Welk show was on TV. He was her cousin I believe, not completly sure. I happened to see the show on PBS-TV this evening and when I saw his name scrolling by during the credits I decided to look it up. I had always been curious about who he was and what he did. He had quite the resume. I am glad that I was able to see some of the drawings on your page here. It has at least put an image to an otherwise mysterious and unknown distant relative so to speak. Before this, he had been just a name scrolling up the TV screen. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Mr. Horvatich was my uncle. I grew up in Indiana. He left Gary after the war and became interested in makeup as a career when he went to California after WWII. In the Black and White television era he pioneered makeup techniques. He was a veteran of WW II, and a survivor of a German POW camp, weighing under 110 lbs. when he made it back to allied lines.
    I talked to my father who is 88, and he corrected the age that his brother was when he passed away in 1989. He was 71 years of age. Tim

  3. Rudy Horvatich was my uncle. He left Gary after WWII to seek work in California. he became interested in makeup and pioneered techniques for early Black and White television. He was captured in WWII at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in 1943 and spent time as a POW captured by the Germans. He made it across to Allied lines weighing 110 lbs. (normally weighing 160 or better), escaping as the Germans abandoned their posts as the Russians approached. My father, (his brother) is now 88 plus. I called him tonight, and he corrected the age his brother was when he passed away– 71, not 81 years of age. Rudy had the friendship of many Hollywood notables, who respected his humility and enjoyed his company. My dad would love to know if you know when Rudy did these pastels, a talent he didn’t know his brother had.

  4. Rudy Horvatich was my father and I was contacted by my cousin that these art pieces were discovered. I have no idea how they ended up in Arizona. They seem to have been made in the mid-1960’s and I was 8 years old at the time. I asked a long time make-up artist friend of my father, Joe Blasco, who confirmed that my father loved to paint clowns and clown make-up. I would love to contact the current owner to see if she would be willing to sell me the total lot. Any assistance in that endeavor would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,Yana

  5. I worked at ABC tv in Hollywood during Rudy’s last 4 years there. He was a wonderful guy. He had more knowledge about make-up and technique than anyone at the time. He treated everyone with love and respect…even us newbies in Hollywood. I have since retired but they don’t make them like Rudy anymore. By the way, his son and I worked together for more than 34 years.
    Thank you sooooo much for posting these.

    • Paris, I’m not sure if you knew, but Rudi Horvatich (“big” Rudy’s son) passed away on April 10th of this year. He was my high school sweetheart, although we had only been married since 1999 (next year I would have known him 40 yrs.). I loved Rudy Sr.also, and you are so correct; he treated everyone with kindness. I feel comforted to know they are together again….
      Janis Horvatich

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