Note: Make-Up Artist magazine recently received corrected information on the date and location of Mr. Lotito’s death, which we have added to this article.
(Originally posted Dec. 22, 2008)
Leo Lotito Jr., a six-time Emmy® Award nominee whose Hollywood make-up career spanned four decades, died Dec. 6 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. He was 86.
According to representatives from Local 706, the West Coast make-up and hairstylist union, Lotito (who served as a Marine during World War II) learned make-up techniques from Ern Westmore and joined the union in 1947. Over the course of his career, Lotito honed his special make-up skills, excelling (as the union described it) in “fantastic creatures scaly and furry.” Although he wasn’t credited, Lotito worked with John Chambers to create the Dr. Zira make-up for The Planet of the Apes; he also worked on the film’s sequel. His other film credits include Riders of the Pony Express, The Terminal Man, Cleopatra Jones, White Line Fever, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Oh, God! (continued below)
Lotito worked extensively in television as well, on the programs The Millionaire, The Jack Benny Program, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Riverboat, The Virginian, The Blue and the Gray and Mystic Warrior. He was nominated for an Emmy® Award six times and worked with Raquel Welch, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, Lana Turner, George Segal, Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
Lotito directed the make-up department for The Burbank Studios from the late ‘80s through the early ‘90s. Although he announced his retirement in 1986, the studio recruited him to run the make-up and hairstyling department for several years afterward. He traveled around the world multiple times; in 1979, he was invited to China for six weeks to teach make-up artists his techniques.
He is survived by his wife Patricia Ann and a daughter, Tricia. Services will be held 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008 at the Kingdom Hall Jehovah Witness, 220 Erbes Rd. in Thousand Oaks, California.