Creepy At First

This has been edited on April 18, 2011 for accuracy.

The other day the tall one and I went out thrifting together. As I was checking out at a local thrift shop a clown drawing flashed in front of me. Creeped out I instantly shook my head NO but then more were shown to me and I gave the whole lot  a second look. These clowns, I realized were actually movie stars and presidents. Now I was intrigued, so much so that I agreed to buy all 26 of these zany pastel drawings.

I came home and started to research the name on the drawings, Horvatich, mainly because I was so curious who would create these. Here is what I discoverd about the artist. His name was Rudy Horvatich and he was the head of Make-up at ABC-TV for 38 years. He was a Stylist for TV shows such as “The Roy Rogers & Dale Evans Show” (makeup artist) (1962), Western Hit Parade (makeup artist) (1962), The 3rd Annual American Comedy Awards, The 51st Annual Academy Awards (1979) (makeup department head) through to The 60th Annual Academy Awards (1988) (makeup department head). Horvatich covered up Milton Berle’s wrinkles, made Lawrence Welk feel young again and gave pep talks to the Lennon sisters when they were just starting out.

He was also an image consultant to five Presidents of the United States. Rudy Horvatich did President Kennedy’s make for The Great Debates: Kennedy vs. Nixon, 1960. Mr. Horvatich died in 1989 at age 81 (corrected by family he died at age 71) From the Post-Tribune (IN) “Success obviously didn’t spoil ABC makeup man Rudy Horvatich. While showing friends from Northwest Indiana the six television monitors in his Hollywood office, Horvatich wryly commented, “Not bad for a little Yugoslav from Gary.” “

More about him from his nephew:

Rudy Horvatich was my uncle. He left Gary after WWII to seek work in California. he became interested in makeup and pioneered techniques for early Black and White television. He was captured in WWII at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in 1943 and spent time as a POW captured by the Germans. He made it across to Allied lines weighing 110 lbs. (normally weighing 160 or better), escaping as the Germans abandoned their posts as the Russians approached. My father, (his brother) is now 88 plus. Rudy had the friendship of many Hollywood notables, who respected his humility and enjoyed his company.
Here  are just a few of them –

13 thoughts on “Creepy At First

  1. I enjoyed the drawings. My aunt (she married my dad’s brother) used to mention Rudy H. whenever the Lawrence Welk show was on TV. He was her cousin I believe, not completly sure. I happened to see the show on PBS-TV this evening and when I saw his name scrolling by during the credits I decided to look it up. I had always been curious about who he was and what he did. He had quite the resume. I am glad that I was able to see some of the drawings on your page here. It has at least put an image to an otherwise mysterious and unknown distant relative so to speak. Before this, he had been just a name scrolling up the TV screen. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Mr. Horvatich was my uncle. I grew up in Indiana. He left Gary after the war and became interested in makeup as a career when he went to California after WWII. In the Black and White television era he pioneered makeup techniques. He was a veteran of WW II, and a survivor of a German POW camp, weighing under 110 lbs. when he made it back to allied lines.
    I talked to my father who is 88, and he corrected the age that his brother was when he passed away in 1989. He was 71 years of age. Tim

  3. Rudy Horvatich was my uncle. He left Gary after WWII to seek work in California. he became interested in makeup and pioneered techniques for early Black and White television. He was captured in WWII at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in 1943 and spent time as a POW captured by the Germans. He made it across to Allied lines weighing 110 lbs. (normally weighing 160 or better), escaping as the Germans abandoned their posts as the Russians approached. My father, (his brother) is now 88 plus. I called him tonight, and he corrected the age his brother was when he passed away– 71, not 81 years of age. Rudy had the friendship of many Hollywood notables, who respected his humility and enjoyed his company. My dad would love to know if you know when Rudy did these pastels, a talent he didn’t know his brother had.

  4. Rudy Horvatich was my father and I was contacted by my cousin that these art pieces were discovered. I have no idea how they ended up in Arizona. They seem to have been made in the mid-1960’s and I was 8 years old at the time. I asked a long time make-up artist friend of my father, Joe Blasco, who confirmed that my father loved to paint clowns and clown make-up. I would love to contact the current owner to see if she would be willing to sell me the total lot. Any assistance in that endeavor would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,Yana

  5. I worked at ABC tv in Hollywood during Rudy’s last 4 years there. He was a wonderful guy. He had more knowledge about make-up and technique than anyone at the time. He treated everyone with love and respect…even us newbies in Hollywood. I have since retired but they don’t make them like Rudy anymore. By the way, his son and I worked together for more than 34 years.
    Thank you sooooo much for posting these.

    • Paris, I’m not sure if you knew, but Rudi Horvatich (“big” Rudy’s son) passed away on April 10th of this year. He was my high school sweetheart, although we had only been married since 1999 (next year I would have known him 40 yrs.). I loved Rudy Sr.also, and you are so correct; he treated everyone with kindness. I feel comforted to know they are together again….
      Janis Horvatich

      • Janis, I have a distant long ago memory of Rudy Horvatich . I used to live in East Glen Park on Tennessee Court. Rudy came home in the springtime of 1964 from California . He had a big BBQ in the the back yard of a house with a screened -in Patio . We lived across the street. He invited the whole neighborhood to this BBQ . He made the most delicious BBQ Ribs I’ve ever eaten! I was 7 yrs. old at the time. I still remember that cook-out to this day! Rudy was very nice smiling and joking with everyone. He made sure everybody had enough to eat. What a BBQ ! He had a special recipe for those Ribs. His BBQ was the talk of the neighborhood that Summer. Those were the days! My Mom told me He was the Makeup man for the Hollywood Palace TV Show. We watched it a lot back then. This was one of my fondest memories from childhood . Do you remember this BBQ or anything similar to it? I saw this site and decided to reply. Thanks, Gary Villeneuve

      • I’m so sorry to hear of Rudi’s passing. He was a friend of mine back in the 70’s, but as sometimes happens, we lost touch over the years. For some reason I thought of him tonight and searched for info on him. I dated his sister a couple of times, but I doubt she even remembers me at this late date. But Rudi’s passing was a shock to me. He was far too young to be taken from you. I wish you all the best.

  6. I have just learned that Rudy had married my cousin Ester. Ester was my second cousin (my mothers First). I wish I would have known them both but it seems Rudy has really made a name for himself with his makeup skills and along with his paintings and kindness.

  7. To all. I am Tim Becich. We all called Rudy, Andy & Steve Horvatich as Uncles & their sister Mary(Mim) Svetich as Aunt out of old school/klan respect. Their Mother was my Mother’s, Mother’s(Katerina/Catherine) Sister. My Mother, Mildred Becich(nee:Crnkovich) was their direct, 1st cousin. We traveled to visit many times during the 60’s, 70’S & 80’s. I went to visit them in ’80, ’87 & ’89 solo & hung with Big & little Rudy @ the studios & also visited him alone in early ’89 while in hospital. He would always say ‘Timmy’ gimmie a hug & don’t tell Esther that I(he) ate all of the donuts. Janis, I met you in ’89 when you had married little Rudy. I am sorry to hear of his passing. I wonder if Richard & Butch are still living? Aunt Onnie(Anne), Steve Horvatich’s dear wife is 95. Uncle Steve has passed. Gail & Paula are still around. 1 in Indiana, as am I & Paula is in Virginia. I stay in touch with Cousin Mary Razumich-Hillman who is Rudy’s Mother’s other Sister’s Daughter. There were 4 sisters that made it to Gary, IN in the late teens. One, Dragitza(Dorothy) stayed in Europe/Yugoslavia. Oddly, I wish that cousin Yana had some of his clown art. He showed me some of them in 1980. In 1986 he gave me a book about Lawrence Welk & his show that he worked on. That visit was wonderful as he took me Santa Monica to give Lawrence a hair-cut on his penthouse balcony, I was 24. It was strange that just last night I decided to Google him as he is still in my thoughts quite often & I came across the labfive.blog link & I was up way past my bedtime. I am a forced retired Horticulturist/Landscape Architect that suffers from an extremely rare(1/356 million) auto-immune disease that is fatal & does not allow me to grow/garden & design. Again, Uncle Rudy, Uncle Andy, Uncle Steve & Aunt Mim among others were all my Mom’s 1st Cousins & out of simple respect as elders were called Aunts & Uncles. I am still curious which nephew was contacted back in 2010, possibly either my cousin Richard or Butch. It has been great to revisit all of those great memories. The by-gone days when everyone went over to one another’s homes to visit no matter the distances driven. ;>)… TimB-ThePlantman

  8. Tim Becich here. I wrote a post today about my Uncle(2nd cousin) Rudy Horvatich. He was my Mother’s 1st cousin but we all knew him as Uncle Rud, out of ‘old school’ elder respect. His Mother & my Mother’s Mother were sisters. My post was quite lenghty. I was very close with Uncle Rudy from 1966 through 1989. I submitted my comments with my name & e-mail. It said that it was being submitted & was awaiting authorization or approval or something of the sort, as if to go through a moderator. I just revisited your site & my lengthy, I’m formative comments/post was gone. I am curious. Did I do something wrong. Sincerely, Tim Becich(Crnkovich/Gladd)

  9. Tim Becich here again. I see that I have 2 comment/posts awaiting moderation. #1 @ 12:23 p.m., c.d.t & #2 @ 1:14p.m., c.d.t..
    I do not have a Facebook, twitter, instagram or any other sort of social media account aside from my e-mail Addy that I entered at the end of my comments. I wonder that since I am not known in the social media world if that had any sort of effect on my comment about Rudy Horvatich going through. As I stated that although Rudy was my Mom’s 1st cousin & my 2nd he was, none the less, known, affectionately to all of my siblings & cousins as ‘Uncle Rudy’. Respectfully submitted.
    Tim Becich(Gladd/Crnkovich)

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