Saturday, Sept. 8 marked the day that make-up artists gathered round to celebrate the retirement of make-up man extraordinaire Leonard Engelman. The evening was filled with well-wishes and high praises, laughter and nostalgic trips down memory lane.

Engelman with <em>Make-Up Artist</em> magazine's publisher Michael Key
Engelman with Make-Up Artist magazine’s publisher Michael Key

While Engelman’s visibility in the make-up industry will scale back, his incredible impact will remain forever. While he will be officially leaving Cinema Makeup School, who hosted the party, his Facebook status of “semi-retired” leaves room for hope that this doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of his artistry. Either way, Engelman’s retirement party was a grand celebration, and a summation of his phenomenal career.

Engelman with Ve Neill
Engelman with Ve Neill

It is evident from the turnout that Engelman has inspired and influenced an incalculable number of make-up artists, our own publisher included. We’ve picked just a small number of all the statements uttered throughout the retirement party, so that hopefully, if you never were blessed to meet or work with Engelman, these statements will give you an idea of … well, of what you missed out on.

“Mr. Engelman is one of the most distinguished artists in our industry. With a career spanning 50 years, he’s worked on almost everything, from the bizarre to the beautiful. Even alongside a young punk kid from Texas way back on the original Ghostbusters.” – Steve Johnson

Everyone enjoying the speeches
Everyone enjoying the speeches

“Over the years he went out of his way to introduce me to my other hero’s and the important board members at Local 706. He always promptly responded to my emails asking for advice and critique. He was there to congratulate me on successes and advancements in my career. But most importantly, he always had this light in his eyes and warm smile that made me feel like he truly cared and had confidence in me even when I didn’t have it in myself.” —Chloe Sens

“We became close through a mutual love for what we do. Leonard ended up being very much a champion, of not only my work but getting me into the Academy of Motion Picture branch as a make-up artist. Just always being supportive and extremely helpful of what I was doing and where I was going. Being helpful with conversation and guiding really a career, which you know, this is a tough business, so it’s good to have that kind of experience behind you and that knowledge.” —Christien Tinsley

Esther, Leonard and Kim Engelman
Esther, Leonard and Kim Engelman

“He is a tremendous source of inspiration when it comes to the length of a career, and the fact that no matter how long you’ve been in this industry you still have something to learn, which is something I always tell my students. Leonard is someone who makes you remember that you always have something to learn.” —Nelly Recchia

“”All professional make-up artists working in the industry today owe something to Leonard Engelman. He has, like few others before him or after, a heart to actually broaden and elevate our industry—and not just for himself, which is what a lot of us do is look out for our best interest. Leonard has actually increased the capacity for make-up artists to be recognized and in a very, very significant way.” – Michael Key

Jennifer Zide-Essex, Esther and Leonard Engelman and Anna Lipton
Jennifer Zide-Essex, Esther and Leonard Engelman and Anna Lipton

“Leonard means everything when it comes to my make-up career. He was the first face I saw at Cinema Makeup School. … My mother has never forgotten him and has always been very grateful, and he has watched and mentored me for the past nine years. And because of him, I know how to lay beards. He was the guiding force and the make-up father of my career. So, if I ever achieve anything in life when it comes to make-up it is because of Leonard Engelman.” —Jennifer Quinteros (JQ)

“He is the most genuine, lovely, nice guy. You would not know the experiences this man has had. He is not boastful, but he is proud and he is an elegant gentleman, which is a rare thing these days. That’s what Leonard reminds us that you can be a part of this industry and remain calm, cool and collected.”
—Tami Lane

From left: Barney Burman, Steve LaPorte and Christien Tinsley
From left: Barney Burman, Steve LaPorte and Christien Tinsley

“Leonard is kind of the epitome of the gentleman make-up artist who can do everything, and he has been such a trendsetter in so many ways and yet stable and someone you could always count on to do the most beautiful work—whether it was prosthetics or beauty, he can do everything.” —Sue Cabral-Ebert

“He is someone I can look up to, and say at the end of my career, if I can even come close to what Leonard has been able to achieve, then I will still have done something great.” —Matthew Turull

“He has not only enriched my life as a make-up artist but as a person. I have been so lucky to have him be a life mentor, not just a career mentor. He is everything and one of a kind.”  —Jennifer Zide-Essex

“You really have to practice your butt off and become a good make-up artist before any of it is going to happen.” —Leonard Engelman

We certainly aren’t the first to say it, and doubt we’ll be the last, but from all of us at Make-Up Artist magazine, a huge: Thank you and congratulations Leonard!