The Man Who Changed
the Faces of the World
Fred C. Basten
Arcade Publishing Inc.
Hachette Book Group
Reviewer: Annie Slessman
Max Factor, a name known throughout the world as one of the leading manufacturers of cosmetics, was born in Poland as Max Faktor. Only when he entered the U.S. did the spelling of his name change. It seems an inspector misspelled Faktor and not knowing how to tell him otherwise, Max's last name changed forever to Factor.
Max married Lizzie, his first wife when working as the make up artist for the Russian Royal family as well as the Imperial Russian Grand Opera. He could not let the Russian Royal family know of his marriage since it could jeopardize Lizzie's life. Therefore, the marriage and the subsequent children of the couple became one of the best-kept secrets in Russia for almost five years until they reached the United States.
Once in America, Max and a partner opened an exhibit at the St. Louis World Fair. Although his exhibit was successful, Max's partner disappeared with all of funds earned from the exhibit and left Max penniless. Max, with the help of his brother and Uncle, opened a barbershop in 1906. It was the beginning of history in the making.
Max Factor was a pioneer in developing make up for the movie industry. Unknown to most of us, he also made most of the wigs used in movies during the "Golden Age."
He eventually took Max Factor to heights Max himself could never have believed in his early years. His entire family-sons, daughters and the son-in-laws were all well versed in the many divisions of his company and carried on his work after his death.
This work not only tells the story of the rise of Max Factor as a world leader in cosmetics, it also leaves the reader with a wealth of knowledge with regard to the history of movies and television. I found the work well researched and well written, not to mention, irresistible and a page-turner.
Fred Basten is the author of numerous books about Hollywood and the entertainment industry. A graduate of UCLA, he was the assistant to the public relations director at Max Factor, Hollywood and currently lives in Santa Monica, California.