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Maurice Stein – A Life

May 23rd, 2018

May 23rd, 2018

When the legendary Maurice Stein passed away in February, he left a huge space in the makeup world.  Our American correspondent, Michael DeVellis of The Powder Group, shares a few words with us about Maurice.

Maurice Stein with Michael DeVellis

Maurice Stein with Michael DeVellis

There isn’t much one can say about Maurice Stein that hasn’t been said before.  This is a man who launched and supported more careers in makeup than one could possibly count.  This is a man who has been the single most important driving force in the movement forward of the professional makeup artist industry and of professional products.  Let’s be honest, to so many of us there is simply Before-Maurice or After-Maurice in our industry.  It is with great sadness and sense of loss that we said goodbye as a community to our icon, mentor and hero this past February.

Until the time I started The Powder Group fifteen years ago, I had only heard legend of this man who had done so much to change an industry.  I had seen Maurice at the International Makeup Artist Trade Show and knew of Cinema Secrets of course, but I never had met the man himself.

Maurice Stein small

When I launched The Powder Group, I finally reached out to Maurice and introduced myself.  I told him that I had just left my executive job at MAC, where I had looked after the development of the pro division and MAC Pro.  I told him about how much I respected all he had done, for so many years, and continued to do to support pros.  I explained to him my plans for The Powder Group and how I hoped we could work together on the journey of community and education for our industry.  Maurice said, “Yes”.

Maurice Stein Powder Group

Less than two years later, I spoke to Maurice about an event I was creating called The Makeup Show.  I explained that it would be a trade show, but a unique one whose focus was education and community first and foremost.  I told him I thought the values of our event aligned well with his and that I’d love to have him and Cinema Secrets be a big part of the show.  Maurice said, “Yes”.

Maurice Stein makeup show

Another couple years passed and I once again went to Maurice and asked if he would like to join me on yet another journey as I launched On Makeup Magazine, a trade magazine for pro makeup artists that celebrated our craft in a new, unique, artistry and artist-driven way.   Maurice was the first person I asked to be a part of the project.  Maurice said, “Yes”.

Would you allow me to feature you and your work on The Golden Girls in our premier issue of On Makeup Magazine?  Yes.

Would you be interested in being a keynote speaker at our The Business Forum LA event?  Yes.

Would you be open to hosting some of our The Powder Group programs at the Cinema Secrets store?  Yes.

Would you allow us to retail some of your line on our TPG Pro Shop site?  Yes.

Maurice Stein was a yes man.  His support was unequivocal.  Maurice shared, contributed and provided encouragement at every turn.  Anyone who has had the good fortune of knowing him, has become the better for it.  His energy and spirit were contagious.  His generosity, kind heartedness and sense of humour are legendary in our industry.

This year celebrates Maurice Stein’s 50th Anniversary in the professional makeup artist business, having launched his career in 1968 on Planet of the Apes.  When Maurice retired from makeup artistry in film and television, he and his wife, Barbara Stein, started the Cinema Secrets brand in 1985.  It was a huge moment for the family but also for the industry.  For the first time a brand was focused on the need for products that would mitigate the danger of cross-contamination from sharing product between clients.  For the first time, there would be a range of foundations that suited the broad range of skin tones that makeup artists worked with in the film and television industry.  For the first time, there was a place where artists could go to get the best information, and the best products from a master, one who would stop everything he was doing to come to the aid of a pro in need.  Maurice made everyone feel special and important and like the only person in the room.

Maurice Stein 1

But his industry-shifting thinking, way of engaging, and the birth of the Cinema Secrets brand aside, Maurice changed careers and lives in so many bigger ways.  Maurice gave completely of himself to others in so many ways.  From working with burn survivors to starting one of the first education programs in the industry, Maurice taught us lessons in makeup and lessons in life.

Never one to miss an opportunity to share those lessons in a tale or two, Maurice was a consummate storyteller.  He could fill both a dinner table and a trade show keynote floor with a spirit and voice that is unrivalled.  He captivated, inspired and taught us something each time he shared his world with us.  Whether he was exploring a moment from his days working on Isis and Land of the Lost, sharing a story about doing makeup on elephants, or laughing about the fun he had flirting with Betty White and fighting with a drunk Bea Arthur, Maurice filled us with wonder.

Maurice Stein group

Maurice’s influence and the lessons he left us with will live on in our industry and in our lives, artistry and businesses.  Even as he stepped out of the day-to-day operations of his brand in recent years, discussions of “What Would Maurice Do” permeate the office at the company he and Barbara founded so many decades ago.  The same question goes through my mind more regularly than I should admit: What Would Maurice Do?  How lucky I feel to have been blessed to have him and his influence in my life.  I will continue to look to my friend and mentor for his guidance for years to come.

Photo courtesy of Cinema Secrets

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