Mary Hillman

Mary Hillman
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Interview Date(s): 
12 Apr 2011
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Mary Hillman BECTU History Project Interview Number 625

Date:  12 April 2011, Venue: Teddington Studios,

Interviewer: Mike Dick   Camera Ruth Bolland

Interviewee: Mary Hillman Hair and Makeup Artist.


00:03:20            Motivation to come to London from Ireland

00:04:35            Went to Gertrude Hartley school

00:05:28            Started work as trainee at BBC

00:07:20            Talks about apprenticeships

00:09:25            Types of programmes worked on at apprenticeship

00:12:39            “Ready Steady Go”

00:16:00            Allocation of Artists to make up staff

00:16:50            The Beatles

00:18:00            Discusses treatment of actors and different jobs of make-up artists. Marriage to Army Officer.

00:20:00            Work at TVR

00:20:40            Working with the move to colour TV and the adjustments that needed to made with make up

00:23:34            Moving into film industry and problems of being freelance

00:24:300            Working with James Garrett & Partners doing adverts

00:25:28            Was a member of NATKE

00:26:27            Films started to work on

00:27:00            Differences between Film and TV

00:28:35            “Bugsy Malone”

00:29:00            Worked with Sarah Monzani

00:30:10            Problem with “Bugsy Malone” due to strike problem at Pinewood

00:31:12            Working with Jodie Foster

00:38:32            Step-by-step breakdown of working on film


00:00:26            Step-by-step breakdown of working on film continued

00:01:26            Talks about viewing rushes

00:02:20            Dandy Dan moustache Continuity on “Bugsy Malone”

00:04:20            Continuity

00:06:26            “Midnight Express” /Canada

00:08:15            “Midnight Express” /John Hurt

00:09:20            Use of blood

00:11:37            Dr Sleep/finding alternatives for make up at short notice

00:12:45            Pay and working conditions in the 70s

00:13:85            Working as a woman

00:15:50            Working as a mother

00:17:08            John Hurt

00:18:30            John Hurt/turning down “Elephant Man”

00:21:00            Actors choice on make-up artists

00:22:30            “Chariots of Fire” /Hugh Hudson

00:24:30            Boundaries of make-up artist and need to know blood and hair

00:26:45            “Chariots of Fire”

00:30:02            Monty Python “The Meaning of Life”

00:36:01            Terry Gilliam

00:36:51            Tools of the trade


00:00:26            1984

00:03:14            Richard Burton

00:03:57            Travelling/ “Out of Africa”

00:05:40            Meryl Streep and Robert Redford bring their own make-up artists

00:07:24            Travelling/America

00:08:50            Make up part of history

00:09:45            Head of Department at Teddington Studios/working on development of HD

00:11:45            Magazine on make up from actors POV

00:13:00            Harem

00:14:10            Dance to the Music of Time

00:16:40            “The Magnificent Ambersons”

00:22:45            “Castaway” and Oliver Reed

00:23:40            Teddington Studios

00:232:50            Redesigning  make up rooms in Teddington

00:25:50            The Shows at the Studio

00:27:17            Thames shutting down

00:26:55            Training Freelancers

00:28            Assessor for HT2

00:30            Assessor for NVQs

00:30            Current state of make up industry

00:33:24            Running Trainee Schemes/Freelance

00:35:11            Importance of training

00;38:35            Working long hours in current industry


00:00:30            Role in BECTU and Unions

00:06:30            Hopes of the Industry

00:08:06            Reflections on career. Respect given by producers of “Chariots of Fire”

00:10:14            Personal achievement

00:11:00            High working standards and care shown on set of “Pirates of the Caribbean”

End of Interview

00:12:05             GVs of make up room at Teddington Studios  + equipment

00:15:59              Exterior shots of Teddington Stuios

00:17:27              End of Tape


Mary trained as a Make-up Artist at Associated Rediffusion from 1961-1965 She worked in  the television and film industries as: Chief Make-Artist/ Make-up/Hair Designer from 1967-1987 and 1993-2006. During this period she worked for companies such as TVR, ITV News. COI. and many commercial companies. She then moved into working on  feature films  such as Bugsy Malone , Chariots of Fire and Out Of Africa. Mary  became Head of Make-up at Thames TV. 1987-1993 . While at Thames she redesigned the Make-up/Hair Areas. In 1990 Mary produced “ The Art of Make-up Exhibition” at Thames TV. In 1993-1994 she co-ordinated front of house at Teddington Studios, which included redesigning the dressing rooms, booking out front of house facilities, setting up guidelines for servicing dressing rooms, green rooms, make-up areas, wardrobe areas etc.