David Langford, a longtime instructor at Make-up Designory Burbank, died June 25 after a heart attack.
Born Dec. 19, 1960, Langford began his career after graduating from Fountain Valley High School in Fountain Valley, Calif. in 1978. He did make-up for local theater productions and then went on to train at the Joe Blasco Makeup Artist Training Center in Hollywood. From there, he worked on TV productions such as Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Jeopardy with Alex Trebek and The Richard Simmons Show.
Per a bio on Blasco’s themakeupspace.com, Langford’s credits included The Tonight Show, Sunset Beach, JAG and Dateline. He worked on newsroom sequences for Groundhog Day and Volcano. Langford’s print work included Life, People, TV Guide and others. During his career, Langford was a department head at Paramount and Disney (often as the personal make-up artist for CEO Bob Iger). He was a member of the Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Local 706.
Langford was an instructor at Joe Blasco centers in Orlando and Hollywood. Since 2010 he was a member of the Make-up Designory faculty.
By all accounts, he had a passion for life, teaching and make-up. Many former students noted his ability to always put a smile on their faces.
“David Langford was one of my beauty instructors when I attended Joe Blasco’s Hollywood School,” says TV and film artist Robert Kato DeStefan. “David was a kind, witty and talented instructor. He gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to apply a beauty make-up, and I still use much of what he taught me to this very day. After I finished school, David became a valued friend and I miss him terribly.”
Make-up Designory’s faculty reached out to Langford’s coworkers and former students. Here is what they say:
“I was lucky to work with Dave for the past four years at MUD Burbank where he taught beauty and character make-up. He was a zany, colorful, compassionate man who exuded positivity and enthusiasm. This flooded everything he touched with joy, especially the teaching of craft in his classroom. I have never known anyone who was so comfortable in his own skin. And I think many of our students, often still struggling with their own forming identities, were drawn to his kindness and strong sense-of-self. He valued and accepted them. For this and many other things, they loved him dearly. He was a role model for anyone who was unique, artistic, and flamboyant because he showed that you could be all these things and be happy, loved, and respected. To say that I will miss him is a profound understatement and I can’t imagine that his absence on our campus will ever be quite filled. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.” —Ray Shaffer
“I would like to share a story, a special memory I have of David. My name is Sam Gaspari and I was recently a student in David’s sfx201 class. I will never forget the day that I received a parking ticket while at school. I was incredibly frustrated and ranted to David about struggling to keep my head up while being new to California. He always knew how to make light of any situation. Jokingly, I stated that the 43-dollar ticket would take a small hit on my wallet. Though I assured him I was only kidding and that I was not struggling to make ends meet, he pulled me aside later on in class and let me know that if I were to ever find myself unable to afford food, that he would always be there to help. These words of kindness have resonated in me since he spoke them. I will forever remember David as a kindhearted teacher and mentor. His legacy will live on through his students and the lives he has touched. I am wholeheartedly grateful that I was fortunate enough to have him as an instructor while attending MUD.” —Sam Gaspari
“I can’t even begin to explain David because he was just so magical. There is nobody else like him and I am so grateful to have known him even though it was only for a short while. David used to keep these little penny coins that him and his kids made at Disneyland years ago, and whenever he was having a rough day or someone was upset with him he would rub those coins to remind him to stay calm and to think about his kids. A week or so ago I was having a particularly rough day in class, I was very frustrated. David could clearly see I was stressed and he took the coins out of his pocket and handed them to me. It was such a special moment for me because that meant he felt comfortable enough with me to lend me a little calmness. David was one of the best and truly most talented. I’m so glad I had an opportunity to get to know him.” —Cicely Raposa
“I first met David four years ago, when I became an associate teacher at MUD. In the four years of working with David, he came in every day with a big smile, huge laugh and his “Heeeyyy!” As a teacher, David loved doing his job; he encouraged all students and their work, even if he never taught them. He always made sure that when students were parading their work that we stopped by his classroom. He loved to look at their work, give them encouraging words, and yell “Yay!!!” as they walked through his classroom. He was an inspiration to his students, loved his job and was a fan of everyone. David will truly be missed, but his legacy and passion he had for teaching will burn bright within all of his past and recent students.” —Stacy Bisel
“I want to say that he always made me laugh. No matter how my day was going. He loved to come to my classroom and try to shake my hand with a tiny fake hand attached to his arm. Or hold up one of his hands that had six fingers—and wait to see how long before I noticed. He also loved to send students to me with what I called “tiny teeth”—their teeth to either side of their two front top teeth were blacked out. He loved the way I laughed but was creeped out by it at the same time.” —Gina Sandler
“David was my SFX 201 teacher last year, he was a really amazing teacher and person. Had such an amazing outlook in life and this picture is a student there Ci’Ara made me into a mini version of him for the assignment lol.” —Reyna Perez
“I have so many beautiful things to say about David that if I start, the list will never end. I’m a very grateful person for having such a great instructor. Thank you for everything you taught me in this beautiful world ❤️ I am going to miss you so much.” —Barbarita Juri
“I was enrolled in the Multimedia Artistry Program and was very nervous about SPFX as it’s something I had never even thought about doing before. I instantly bonded with him—who wouldn’t. He was always joking and smiling and encouraging everyone in class to be creative and make mistakes. I never thought I would enjoy the class as much as I did. I found a creative outlet in an area I had no self confidence in. He never pushed anyone and always found a way to help bring out your visions. I can honestly say it was my favorite class. … That to me was always the best part of knowing him. The inner child that always came out to play in the midst of something serious. It broke up the monotony of the day and reminded us all that at the end of the day, it was OK to have fun as long as we finished the work. He is a lot of the reason why I am doing what I am doing today and I don’t think I would have had the confidence to tackle the obstacles that I’ve tackled without him. I’m at a loss, as I know everyone is. Not having him to help me come up with tricks of the trade for future projects or gossip about set drama is something I never thought I’d live without. He was such a bright spirit and was so dedicated to his students and school. I don’t know how any of us will carry on without him.” —Rebeca Ovadia
“David Langford was one of my instructors when I attended the Joe Blasco Makeup Center in 1985. As an impressionable 18-year-old, I always loved when David taught our class because not only did he seem to be good at everything, but he was such an affable, generous teacher and man. I for one really took in his kind personality and that he always seemed to have a smile on his face and a wink in his eye—even when things went screwy. I’ve never forgotten that lesson, and was happy to have been able to thank him on numerous occasions. A wonderful man and it was my honor to have been taught by him.” —Bill Corso
“When I think about David the first thing that comes to mind is his laugh. He would do just about anything for the joke, mostly at his own expense. Laughing so hard tears would run down his cheeks, harder still when you joined in. We would talk endlessly about movies we loved and those we would watch again and again. Quoting lines from our favorites, laughing out-loud at the silliness of it all. Good times. Of course that’s not all we talked about, topics were vast from sharing recipes to naming show-tunes. You always knew when David was walking down the halls at MUD, you could him whistling some old tune from South Pacific or just about any other Broadway song, past or present. An exceptional artist, he loved his craft. I truly believe he loved teaching even more. Sharing his experiences and knowledge, students loved him. His room is directly across the hall from mine. I will miss him coming into my room asking if I have a sec so he can show me something he has just discovered or, re-discovered. I will miss our conversations, his excitement over what a student has just created or, when he just wanted to borrow a bobby pin. I will miss my friend. To quote a line from one of our favorite movies, David, ‘Ya know I love ya more than my luggage.’ Rest in Peace dear David.” —Yvonne Hawker
Langford is survived by Pam, Ryan and Erin Langford. At press time, no public memorial information was available.
See gallery for more photos and memories created with David Langford.