The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It

The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It

by Sharrie Williams, Bettie Youngs

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Overview

In 1915, when a kitchen stove fire singed his sister Mabel's lashes and brows, Tom Lyle Williams watched in fascination as she performed a "secret of the harem"-mixing petroleum jelly with coal dust and ash from a burnt cork and apply it to her lashes and brows. Mabel's simple beauty trick ignited Tom Lyle's imagination and he started what would become a billion-dollar business, one that remains a viable American icon after nearly a century. He named it Maybelline in her honor. Throughout the 20th century, the Maybelline Company inflated, collapsed, endured, and thrived in tandem with the nation's upheavals-as did the family that nurtured it. Setting up shop first in Chicago, Williams later, to avoid unwanted scrutiny of his private life, cloistered himself behind the gates of his Rudolph Valentino Villa and ran his empire from a distance. Now after nearly a century of silence, this true story celebrates the life of an American entrepreneur, a man whose vision rocketed him to success along with the woman held in his orbit, Evelyn Boecher-who became his lifelong fascination and muse. Captivated by her "roaring charisma," he affectionately called her the "real Miss Maybelline" and based many of his advertising campaigns on the woman she represented: commandingly beautiful, hard-boiled and daring. Evelyn masterminded a life of vanity, but would fall prey to fortune hunters and a mysterious murder that even today remains unsolved. A fascinating and inspiring story of ambition, luck, secrecy-and surprisingly, above all, love and forgiveness, a tale both epic and intimate, alive with the clash, the hustle, the music, and dance of American enterprise.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780984308118
Publisher: Bettie Youngs Book Publishers
Publication date: 06/30/2014
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 377
Sales rank: 553,372
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sharrie Williams is Tom Lyle Williams's grandniece and Evelyn Boecher Williams's granddaughter.

Dr. Bettie Youngs is the author of 24 books published in 28 languages.

Read an Excerpt

The Maybelline Story

And the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It
By Sharrie Williams

Bettie Youngs Books

Copyright © 2010 Sharrie Williams
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780984308118

One
Inventing Tom Lyle Williams

 'Many a wreck is hid under a good paint job,' my grandmother, 'Miss Maybelline,' always told me. That and 'Glamour is just sex that got civilized.' And so the Maybelline story begins, as it should, with illusion: the illusion of perpetual, larger-than-life glamour.

As a fifteen-year-old, my great uncle Tom Lyle Williams loved movies in a way that was different from that of most people his age. I imagine him poised over the film projector in the back of the nickelodeon where he worked after school for six dollars a week, watching a silent movie flickering in the darkness while a pianist banged out ragtime melodies in time with the action on the screen. The year is 1911, and even a small farming town like Morganfield, bordering the coalfields of western Kentucky, provides enough business to keep a movie theater thriving.

But for Tom Lyle, as everyone calls him, working in the nickelodeon is not merely a job. He does not just project the films, and he does not just watch them. He is absorbed by them. There in the nickelodeon, Tom Lyle can slip into worlds so unlike Morganfield that it's hard to believe they exist on the same planet. And the people who dwell there! Mary Pickford in In the Sultan's Garden . . . so ethereal with her blonde curls and lambent eye, so captivating in her every expression and gesture . . . it's shocking to look from her to the audience of farmers and their stolid wives, all sunburns and corded hands, dreary frocks and crumpled hats.

This is the mystery that holds Tom Lyle spellbound in the darkness: what makes the actresses flickering on the screen so much more attractive and fascinating than ordinary women? Even his sisters Mabel and Eva, whom he loves dearly, are so plain in comparison. And the same is true of men. Can any man Tom Lyle has ever seen in person compare in handsomeness to the sleek, square-chinned Wallace Reid or the dapper Dell Henderson? What is their secret, these stars, these larger-than-life miracles? Are they just born special, or is it something they learn? And if it can be learned, is the secret available to Tom Lyle Williams of Morganfield, Kentucky?

One day Unk Ile, as I came to call him, would tell me about how he studied the film stars: how they stood, how their gazes caught and held your own, how they moved their bodies. He noted the clothing they wore and how they combed their hair, searching for the key that would unlock their secrets.

His neighbors in Morganfield had already pegged Tom Lyle as a hopeless dreamer, a lad who would never amount to anything. If asked, they would have said that a projector boy should focus on his job instead of pondering something as frivolous as the nature and power of beauty. Did he not come from one of the better local families? Was his father not both a gentleman farmer and the town sheriff, a tough, no-nonsense fellow more likely to toss a person in jail than discuss the interplay of light and shadow on the silver screen?

And yet it was the art and artifice behind beauty that would one day tear our clan away from its deep Kentucky roots and bring us into a new world of glamour and fortune. It was the desire to possess this magical power and all that went with it that eventually seduced us all, as surely as if we'd been sitting with Unk Ile in the nickelodeon back in 1911.

 

To this day, I personally identify with Unk Ile more than I do with his younger brother Preston, my own grandfather. For one thing, Preston died before I was born, but that is not the main reason. I relate to my great uncle's thoughtful, sensitive nature, which by all accounts was the antithesis of my grandfather's mercurial misbehaviors. Both men were handsome, but again in different ways . . . one light, one shadow. My great-grandmother said that of all the children, her fourth, Tom Lyle—with his head of blond, curly hair, his twinkling brown eyes, his provocative personality—was the most beautiful.

Tom Lyle loved, respected, and wanted to please his parents. Thomas Jefferson 'TJ' Williams and his wife Susan assumed Tom Lyle would one day become a gentleman farmer like his father and grandfathers, although other acceptable career options included professor or priest. But when Tom Lyle looked in the mirror, he saw none of these things. He saw a boy who, at age fifteen, had less muscular definition than his thirteen-year-old brother Preston, and no facial hair at all. This bothered him. How could a man who looked like a boy possibly win the heart of Bennie Gibbs, the only girl in Morganfield as lovely as the actresses on the silver screen? She seemed to like him, holding his gaze a moment longer than necessary when she came into the nickelodeon or when they bumped into each other in town, but that wasn't enough. He needed more. He needed her to know he was special, too. For inspiration, he headed straight for the family Bible . . . which he slid aside in favor of what was always kept beneath it: the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue.

For Tom Lyle, the catalogue offered sojourns into the sophisticated existence he craved, an overview of the desires, habits, and customs of people far more worldly than his neighbors—or himself. The catalogue so fascinated him that he'd taught himself to read, at age four, by poring over its product descriptions.

But that wasn't all. The greatest thing about the catalogue was that through the magic of mail order, a small-town boy like Tom Lyle had access to the same products as city dwellers. He turned to the well-thumbed page advertising motorcycles. He'd practically memorized the information by now, but he went over it again. The black Pierce four-cylinder was the latest thing on two wheels: urbane, with an aura of menace—but far too expensive for a nickelodeon operator. The Pope one-cylinder was much cheaper . . . but it seemed so ordinary. Then there was the Indian two-cylinder—candy-apple red, with the sexy curves of a woman . . . and cheap enough to save for.

Although Tom Lyle was every bit the dreamer townsfolk thought him to be, he also possessed qualities that they would never have guessed existed. One was the pragmatism worthy of any hard-bitten farmer. He calculated that he would need two months to save what he needed using his nickelodeon salary alone—too long to suit him. So he supplemented that income with his earnings from a business he'd started at the age of nine: selling baseball cards. Although he was a fan of the sport and loved the pictures, player info—and advertising copy—on the cards, he mostly viewed his collection as an investment. At age ten he'd begun selling off his most prized cards, then used the profits to buy more highly collectible cards and sold those. Soon he'd expanded his business to include the trading cards found in cigarette packages, which featured photos of portions of scantily clad women that could be pieced together to form a pin-up. He could charge the highest prices for a pretty face or an exposed ankle.

Another quality Tom Lyle possessed in volume was determination. In only six weeks, he had amassed the formidable sum of forty dollars and placed his order for the Indian. Only after the money was gone did he admit the deed to his parents. They scowled and lectured but didn't forbid him to have the motorcycle.

When the Indian finally arrived, gleaming and beautiful, Tom Lyle was ready. He had purchased goggles and leather gloves and borrowed a red-fringed scarf. Now he brushed his initials onto its rear fender out in the barn, then climbed onto the saddle. Suddenly he was no longer an ordinary small-town boy. On this machine, he would be a dashing, irresistible hero like those he saw flickering across the movie screen each night.

As chickens squawked and feathers flew, he practiced riding the bike around the barnyard. The whole family watched as, decked in goggles, cap, and gloves, the red scarf fluttering around his neck, he finally struck out on the road that ran along the Ohio River. His destination was the home of thirteen-year-old Bennie Gibbs, with her flawless skin and sparkling eyes.

Tom Lyle knew he cut an impressive figure as he sped past the old red brick courthouse, the library, and Morganfield's town square with its big American flag flying high. He zoomed along at a breathtaking thirty-five miles per hour, then accelerated to forty, passing fields of tobacco and hay, fruit orchards and pastures, feeling the glory of the ride down to his toes. In a mere twenty minutes, he covered the twelve miles to Millburn where Bennie lived.

Bennie heard the bike and slipped away from her chores to come out and greet him. Her mother wouldn't allow her to get on 'that contraption,' so Tom Lyle parked the bike and the young couple wandered away on foot, holding hands as they strolled past the rose bushes and the massive cottonwood trees. Almost accidentally, they kissed for the first time. The afternoon slipped blissfully past, until Tom Lyle noticed the position of the sun.

'Oh, gosh, I have to get home!' he cried. 'I can't be late for dinner.'

'Not even a minute?' Bennie asked.

'Not even a second.' He began hauling her back toward her house by the hand. 'My father's very strict about the family eating together. I don't want to get thrown in jail!'

'Jail?' Bennie said.

'Don't forget, Dad's the Morganfield Sheriff as well as a farmer.'

'But . . . jail? His own son?'

Tom Lyle laughed.

'My brother Preston's already been there twice—once for stealing chicken eggs as a prank and another time for neglecting his chores on purpose.'

'But that's terrible!'

'Not for Preston. He just sat around reading dime novels about the Old West and ignoring Dad's lectures. But I've got a motorcycle to worry about—my folks are already upset I bought it in the first place.'

'When will I see you again?' Bennie asked, as he released her hand in front of her house.

'Soon, if I make it home in time for dinner. Pray for me!' And he leaped on the motorcycle and kicked the engine alive.

'Take the old Cummings road!' Bennie yelled through a cloud of blue smoke. 'It's shorter!'

In his rearview mirror, Tom Lyle saw her waving her hankie and blowing him a kiss.

He urged the bike to nearly fifty miles per hour down the tree-lined dirt road. He made good time until, some distance ahead, he saw a muddy little gulch cutting across the road. Decision time. He could turn around and find another route; he could stop and try to muscle the heavy bike across the gap; or . . . well, surely this was where a motorcycle held an advantage over a car. . . .

He opened the throttle as wide as it would go, felt the bike sail miraculously free of the ground, and . . . crashed.

When he raised his head from the dust, coughing and groaning, he saw the Indian lying across the road in a battered, mud-smeared heap.

He himself had suffered only a few scrapes and bruises, but the bike wouldn't start. He managed to half-walk, half-drag it the remaining distance home, crestfallen, hurting, muddy . . . and late.

TJ was sitting on the porch, a toothpick in his mouth. Once he ascertained that his son was in one piece, he exploded. 'Goddamn it, Tommy Lyle! You scared your mother half to death! You will get rid of that infernal piss-ant death trap.'

'Yes, sir,' Tom Lyle said.

But he didn't. The same determination that would serve him well throughout his life impelled him to lock himself in the family barn with the machine, take it apart, clean it, straighten what needed to be straightened, and put it all back together.

When he rolled the resurrected machine out of the barn, his parents gaped.

'That thing still runs?' TJ asked.

'Yes, sir, it does. I mean to sell it.'

TJ circled the bike, running his hands over the paint, then slapped Tom Lyle on the shoulder. 'Well, I guess you've earned the right to keep it if you want.'

Susan shot her husband a warning look. 'You mean he can keep it if . . .'

'If you give us your word you won't pull any more damn-fool stunts like you did last time,' TJ said.

'You have my word,' Tom Lyle said.

 

That was another thing about Tom Lyle: he was a man of his word. For another year, he rode the bike, a rolling trophy of his persistence and business skills. But it did nothing to enhance his image in Morganfield. Townsfolk gossiped that he had been a show-off ever since he was five and hung up posters billing himself as 'Tommy Lyle, the Great-Actor-Bat' to advertise the first of many 'shows' he and his little sister Eva performed. Instead of praising his talent, energy, and gumption, people wrote him off as 'a dreamer.' All the noisy motor bike did was add new pejoratives to the list: 'flashy,' 'flighty,' 'vain.'

Tom Lyle ignored the talk as best he could but vowed he would show them all someday.

In fact, he was thinking about the future more and more nowadays, as he fell in love with Bennie Gibbs. He bought her trinkets and carved their initials in the big oak tree by the one-room schoolhouse. He and she began stealing away to meet in secluded places. This was wonderful, but as usual, Tom Lyle wanted more.

For her birthday, his goal was to give his girl a real surprise, so he went straight to the Sears catalogue. There was a ring set with a dark bloodstone—December's birth gem—but that wouldn't serve the dual purpose he had in mind. Instead, he selected a sparkling ruby in a setting of fourteen karat gold.

Two days before Christmas, the day Bennie turned fourteen, he presented the ring to her over cherry colas at the new soda fountain, where gooseneck handles dispensed 'health-giving' carbonated water. Bennie blushed as she slid the ring onto her finger. 'This is just the beginning,' he assured her. 'I've got three hundred dollars in savings, and I promise you, I'm going to turn it into a fortune.'

'I believe you, Tom Lyle,' Bennie said, then hesitated. Her parents' opinion of her boyfriend wasn't much better than that of most people in town. 'But how?'

'Look at this.' He whipped out a pamphlet that described the profitability of harvesting vegetables in Florida during its extended growing season and selling them for fantastic profits in the still-wintry North. When she looked puzzled, he clutched her hands. 'I just want you to know that one of these days, I'll be able to support you. You understand?'

She believed she did and smiled, gripping his fingers tightly.

Although what happened next was never discussed in detail by anyone, including Tom Lyle, I can visualize it. Three weeks later, on Tom Lyle's sixteenth birthday, I imagine him and Bennie sneaking off to an abandoned log cabin or barn. I see snow on the ground and a fire inside. Whatever the exact setting, one thing is certain: on that day, fourteen-year-old Bennie Gibbs gave Tom Lyle the most wonderful present he had ever received.

 

. . . And several months later, she gave him something else—a piece of news delivered through tears and sobbing: she was pregnant. 'I'm so scared, Tommy Lyle. My daddy is real strict and religious. He'll just . . . kill me.'

Tom Lyle the dreamer, bursting with love and pride, didn't share her fear. Of course her father would be upset—a daughter pregnant at fourteen and married to a sixteen-year-old Catholic boy! But for the sake of his grandchild, surely he would come around. 'Bennie,' Tom Lyle said, 'don't worry. I'll find a way to take care of you . . . and our baby.'

For practical advice he turned to his big brother Noel, always so steady and dependable. Noel's answer was simple: 'You must do the right thing by her, Tommy Lyle.'

This was the answer Tom Lyle wanted to hear. He asked Bennie to be his wife, and they hopped on the Indian and rode off to get married. I picture that April day as lovely and sunny. I imagine their euphoria as they reached the ferry that took them across the Ohio River, brown and swollen with spring rains, to Old Shawneetown in Illinois. Bennie knew there was a justice of the peace there because her own mother had gotten married in the historic trading town. It was far enough away from Morgantown that nobody would know who they were, or how young.

In a three-minute ceremony, the same eighty-two-year-old judge who'd required vows of her parents pronounced Tom Lyle and Bennie husband and wife.

The marriage didn't last much longer than the ceremony. When the newlyweds returned to Morganfield, the first place they went was Bennie's house, to tell her parents about their elopement.

Instead of offering congratulations, Mr. Gibbs, a strict Southern Baptist, grabbed a broomstick and charged at Tom Lyle. 'How dare you marry my daughter without my consent?' he roared, jabbing the young man out of the house. 'Do you actually think I'd allow my Bennie to marry a heathen Catholic? Get off my property and don't ever come back!'

The marriage was quickly annulled, but the other issue was not so easily erased. As Bennie's swelling belly became more obvious, she was sent off to live with her aunt in Ohio in hopes of keeping her condition a secret. Such hopes proved futile. Soon everyone in Morganfield knew what had happened between Bennie Gibbs and Tom Lyle—and sure enough, the scandal both families had feared ensued. Whenever Tom Lyle entered Morganfield, he encountered cold silence or head-shaking contempt. He couldn't believe his situation. How had all his good intentions and studied charm led to such disastrous results?

When newspaper headlines blared TITANIC SINKS, he half wished he had been aboard the doomed vessel.

Since he no longer made the long trips on his motorcycle to see Bennie, he felt little joy in riding it and put it up for sale. After several weeks without an offer, he realized that nobody in Morganfield could afford the fifty dollars he was asking—or else nobody wanted his bike.

One day at the barber shop, glumly paging through a copy of Popular Mechanics, he came to the classified ads . . . and had an idea. An idea nobody he knew had ever tried. Agonizing over the correct phrasing, he penned a fifteen-word 'motorcycle for sale' ad and sent it to the magazine, along with a dollar-fifty to pay for it.

He began checking the mailbox on a daily basis, certain his brainstorm would pay off in no time.

Nothing.

One evening, he sat through dinner stewing about the lack of response to his ad and didn't notice how unusually silent the table was. Only after TJ and Susan sent the other children from the room did he focus on his surroundings. His father and mother exchanged measured looks, then TJ brought up a familiar theme: 'This scandal about Bennie and the baby is hurting the rest of our family, Tom Lyle.'

Tom Lyle hung his head. 'I know, Papa. I'm sorry.'

'Our people came over on the Mayflower, you know; we've got a tradition to uphold. Why, my granddaddy Josiah was a magistrate while he farmed these five hundred acres.'

Tom Lyle had heard all this before—although never after his siblings had been sent away. He realized his mother was holding the family Bible, her tears dripping on a page displaying her family tree. 'Tom Lyle . . .' she said, 'I can't hold my head up in town anymore.'

He glanced back and forth between his parents. 'What are you saying?'

TJ leaned toward him. 'Son, we think it's best if you leave home. Leave Morganfield. Your brother Noel has a good job up in Chicago; you could go up there and stay with him, find your way up there. . . .'

The rest of the lecture was a blur. The injustice of being shunned filled Tom Lyle with shame, despair, and rage unlike anything he'd ever felt before. Hadn't he done the honorable thing, marrying Bennie with every intention of supporting her and their child? Was it his fault her parents had stripped him of that honor? He loved her, yet he was being robbed of his happiness . . . and now his birthright.

Everyone was against him.

 

Then something else happened that would change the course of my uncle's life: over the next couple of days, a dozen responses to his ad for the Indian arrived—each containing a money order for fifty dollars. Of course he would have to return all but one, but the incredible fact remained: he could have sold twelve motorcycles with that single ad.

He dug out the pamphlet about Florida produce he'd shown Bennie and lost himself in its vivid portrayal of profits to be made. Photos showed crowds of bundled-up Northerners waiting in line at the market for so-called 'late vegetables' grown in the deep South. His parents wanted him to leave? Fine. But forget Chicago and some dreary railroad job like his brother's—he'd go to Florida and get rich.

Anger and resentment solidified into resolve. Between the money he had saved and what he'd gotten for selling his bike, he had enough to make a success of himself. Then he'd win his Bennie back and be the husband and father he knew he could be.

The kind of father who would never send his son away in shame. . . .

 

At the far end of his first solo train trip, Tom Lyle stepped into the Florida heat and promptly used all his savings to purchase a vegetable tract outside Orlando. He persuaded a local fifteen-year-old boy to help him cultivate his first crop, and for several months he worked hard at farming—the one thing he had been most certain that he did not want to do. But it would be worth it. When he returned Morganfield in glory, that would show the Gibbs family that he was a worthy son-in-law—and everyone else that he was no ne'er-do-well dreamer.

 

The crops were growing beautifully when he received a letter from Ohio announcing that baby Cecil Anderson Williams had been born to Bennie Gibbs on September 9, 1912. Tom was delighted to see that despite her father's furious objections, Bennie had put 'Williams' on the baby's birth certificate.

A month later, when the frosts set in up north, he and his assistant harvested their crop. That was when Tom Lyle learned that he had neglected to inquire about the cost of shipping produce up north. It was too high. He couldn't pay for shipping and still make a profit.

He lost everything.

Returning penniless to Morganfield took all the emotional reserves he could muster, but his parents seemed to think his banishment had done its job. His father discussed plans for Tom Lyle to help him run the farm and possibly even become a deputy sheriff in a few years.

Tom Lyle wasn't too keen on either idea—except that it meant he could be near Bennie and their son. That made it worth considering.

Meeting his own child the first time required a bit of romantic subterfuge. Because Tom Lyle was forbidden to set foot on the Gibbs farm, a friend named Lucy arranged for Bennie to come over to visit for a day. Bennie didn't know that Tom Lyle was also on his way, walking three miles through the rain carrying a bunch of flowers. When he knocked on the door, Lucy opened it—and there behind her was beautiful Bennie, rocking and breast feeding their baby in the parlor. Tom Lyle dropped to his knees in front of her.

'You look like a goddess.'

Bennie sobbed as she swaddled the baby and held him out to his father.

Surely the love manifested in their child would bind them together forever.

 



Continues...

Excerpted from The Maybelline Story by Sharrie Williams Copyright © 2010 by Sharrie Williams. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Michael Levine xi

Preface Alan Andrews Ragland xiii

Prologue: Smoke and Fire xv

Part 1 An Idea Is Born (1912-1926)

1 Inventing Tom Lyle Williams 3

2 A Thousand Dimes a Day 13

3 A Secret from the Harem 19

4 The Little Red Box 29

5 The Return of a Different Man 35

6 Triangle 41

7 Geometry of the Heart 49

8 Leaving Chicago 55

9 A Ring and Roses 61

10 The Godfather 67

Part 2 The Eyes Have It The Start of Something Big (1927-1936)

11 Doctor's Orders, Darling 73

12 The Stetson 77

13 This, You Gotta See 81

14 The Business of Family 87

15 The Deal 91

16 Who's Virginia? 97

17 Miss Maybelline and Mr. Hyde 101

18 Crashes 107

19 Buddy, Can You Spare $30,000? 115

20 After the Roar 121

21 Brave Fronts 127

22 Rags and Riches 133

23 The Prodigal 143

24 Oh, Preston 147

25 Paradise West 153

26 The Man in the Llama Coat 157

Part 3 The Third Front (1937-1949)

27 Miss Mom 163

28 Miss Maybelline Is Back ... Sort Of 169

29 True Confessions 173

30 Technicolor 179

31 The Girl Who Was Not a Dame 185

32 Plaid Skirt Meets Silk Kimono 191

33 Black Velvet Meets Apron 195

34 "I'll Never Smile Again" 199

35 Chica Chica Boom Chic 205

36 Shattered 209

37 "We Interrupt This Program ..." 215

38 Miss Gold Digger Meets Mr. Gold 223

39 Private Feud and World War 227

40 "Most of You Will Be Killed" 237

41 A Queen and a Princess 243

42 Tony 249

Part 4 Fantasy vs. Reality (1950-1969)

43 Rio and Reds 259

44 Cover-Up 265

45 Maybelline, Inc 269

46 Searching for a Niche 277

47 Taking Stock 283

48 Jockeying for Position 287

49 Cracks in the Dam 295

50 A Model Family Member 301

51 Reliving the Past 307

Part 5 Miss Maybelline Reborn (1970-1979)

52 Many a Wreck 317

53 The Wedding(s) of the Year 325

54 Deeds and Misdeeds 333

55 Trials 341

56 The Rise and Fall of Royalty 345

57 Glory 351

58 Finishing Touches 357

59 Show Time 361

60 Ashes, Ashes 365

Epilogue (1980-Present) 371

Book Club Discussion Questions 375

About the Authors 379

Other Books by Bettie Youngs Books Publishing Company 381

What People are Saying About This

Shulman

A richly told story of a forty-year, white-hot love triangle that fans the flames of a major worldwide conglomerate. Neil Shulman, Associate Producer, Doc Hollywood

Tom Lyle Williams

What Others Are Saying about This Book . . .


  • Oh, what marvelous memories! What a marvelous book and a marvelous tribute to a golden boy—Tom Lyle—in many a golden era. —Jane Withers, actress, and long-time personal friend of Tom Lyle
  • An exciting and thoughtful book, part memoir, part history, part family saga, that reveals the triumphs and tragedies behind the beautiful public face of Maybelline. —Mark A. Clements, author, Lorelei and The Land of Nod
  • Superb! An exciting tale that gives an insider's view into the genesis of a corporate giant. A wild ride, an enticing saga. —Alan Andrews Ragland, son of Maybelline legend 'Rags' Ragland

  • Spanning four generations, The Maybelline Story traces the founding of one of the true great conglomerates that spawned the billion-dollar cosmetic industry, and reveals the glamour—and seedy underside—of sudden fortune and unrestrained vanity on the family dynasty behind it. Wow to seeing this to screen! —Nina Siemaszko, actress, The West Wing
  • Even if you come away from reading this book thinking that the family dynasty created in the founding of Maybelline was a bit over the top, 'over the top' was what was expected from the generation that brought it about. This story may read like a novel, but it is, alas, a true one!—Nancy Williams Fesler, great niece to Tom Lyle Williams
  • A richly told story of a forty-year, white-hot love triangle that fans the flames of a major worldwide conglomerate. Neil Shulman, Associate Producer, Doc Hollywood
  • Tom Lyle, my great uncle —and the godfather of our family—made us all rich, in more ways than one! But it is hard for us to separate Maybelline from our family, because it was a family affair, literally. This is a story I lived, and a family I love. —William Preston Williams III
  • An astonishing, intriguing and entertaining story! A real page-turner! —John St. Augustine, Oprah & Friends / Harpo Radio and author, Living an Uncommon Life: Essential Lessons from 21 Extraordinary People
  • The Maybelline Story details the life of Tom Lyle Williams, who started a company in his basement, grew it into a conglomerate and how sudden wealth changed a family. This feat would greatly affect the life of the woman Tom Lyle admired most, and her unrequited love for him would lead her to search for love and power for the rest of her life. What a story! You can't make this stuff up! —Steve Hudis, Producer, IMPACT Motion Picture

Tom Lyle Williams, III

Tippi Hedren

Spanning four generations, The Maybelline Story traces the founding of one of the true great conglomerates that spawned the billion-dollar cosmetic industry, and reveals the glamour—and seedy underside—of sudden fortune and unrestrained vanity on the family dynasty behind it. —Tippi Hedren, actress and founder of the Shambala Preserve

Marla Martenson

A juicy story, an unbelievable account of the making of a mega-giant (Maybelline) and a cast of characters you won't believe! Funny, tragic, sad and hilarious, this book will be a great movie! –Marla Martenson, actress, author of Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker

John St. Augustine

An astonishing and juicy story, intriguing and entertaining as all get out! A real page-turner!—John St. Augustine, Oprah & Friends / Harpo Radio and author, Living an Uncommon Life: Essential Lessons from 21 Extraordinary People

Jane Velez-Mitchell

An amazing and tragic story of a triumphant family.—Jane Velez-Mitchell, author, "I Want", and CNN host, "Issues"

Rags Ragland

Superb! An insider's view into the genesis of a corporate giant—and the wild ride behind it!—Alan Andrews Ragland, son of Maybelline legend 'Rags Ragland'

Customer Reviews