The obituary below is posted with permission from Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Local 706.
Journeyman make-up artist Donna Henderson passed away on Sept. 10 after a brave fight against asthma and COPD; she was 70.
Donna-Lou was the daughter of Bill Morley, a Local 706 make-up artist who discouraged Donna’s desire to become a make-up artist, so Donna became a hairdresser instead—and hated it. Donna’s initial film and television jobs in the ‘80s allowed her to do hair and dabble in make-up, and this is where Donna found her gift, her passion. Donna was happiest when she was working, at her best when she was creating; she loved talented, brilliant minds, recounting stories and her ever-present venti cup of Starbucks coffee.
Donna won a CableACE Award for her make-up artistry on Tales from the Crypt (1995); she was nominated for eight Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards, winning twice—both times for her work on Six Feet Under (2001), and she was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards for Six Feet Under, winning Outstanding Make-up for a Series—Prosthetic (2001). Aside from Tales from the Crypt (1991 – ‘95), Donna was the make-up department head on Beverly Hills, 90210 (1993 – ‘98), Love Boat – the Next Wave (1998), Barb Wire (1998) before shooting the Six Feet Under pilot in 2000; Donna was present every day, for every episode, right up until the show’s final scene in 2005. Other work included How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Planet of the Apes, The Young Riders, Kindred: The Embraced, Pacific Palisades, Perversions of Science, Fired Up! and one episode of The Sopranos that shot in Los Angeles guest starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Lauren Bacall; upon hearing Donna’s distinctive ‘whiskey tenor,’ Bacall told her “I love the voice …”
Donna was generous; she collected people. She was everyone’s advocate, everybody’s cheerleader, and she fiercely protected her friends, her actors and her co-workers. She was never what anyone could call “production friendly”; she made sure that anyone needing hours got an 8-hour day on her show, and the needs of the talent often took priority over the needs of the production: “Now you sit there a minute and get yourself together; they can yell at me later. Besides, I need to re-heat this coffee …”
Donna is survived by her loving husband Bob; her children Justin (a third-generation make-up artist), Bobby and Terry; her grandchildren Amanda and Andrew and all of the make-up artists, hairstylists, actors and crews that loved and adored her—you know who you are.
You’re Donna’s friend.