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Publishers WeeklyHollywood devotees, fashionistas and cosmetics junkies will enjoy this rags-to-riches story about cosmetics tycoon Max Factor (nee Faktor, 1877-1938), written with insider knowledge (and unwavering admiration) by author and former Max Factor PR man Basten. Raised in a large motherless brood in Poland, Factor's career began with his stint at the Russian Grand Opera company, where his work was lauded by royalty but where he was treated, in his words, "the same as a slave." Escaping in 1905, Factor settled with his wife and children in Los Angeles, where he soon became "Hollywood's make-up wizard," the man with "the beauty secrets of the Czar's court." Responsible for many stars' signature looks (Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson among them), the modifications he made to cosmetics, as well as his ahead-of-its-time marketing acumen, brought make-up to the masses. Published to coincide with the company's 100th anniversary, Basten's account gets mired in corporate mergers, headquarter shifts and museum politics in its last quarter; up until then, however, this biography of the man who gave the world a makeover is a good story with special appeal for fans of cosmetics and Hollywood's Golden Age.
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