MGM Makeup Man John Truwe
"Our makeup man was John Truwe," says Pierre Jalbert.
"He loved his 'boys.' He started working at MGM at age 14. He became one of the best
makeup men at MGM. Worked with Elizabeth Taylor and all the great women stars. He was
excellent for women. I don't know how he got Combat!, but he loved "the
boys," as he called us. Simple makeup, just a little base, a little dirt."
(Pictured above is makeup man John Truwe applying Fuller's earth to pitcher Warren Spahn.)
"He was a good makeup man," Conlan says of John Truwe. "He did great
stuff with Vic and all of us. We were dirty. He did great dirt."
Union rules require that the costumes be cleaned every night. Each morning, once the
actors were in the clean uniforms, they had to be 'dirtied up.' Fuller's earth would be
applied by hand to the costumes. "Sometimes it was faster just to roll around on the
ground for awhile," remembers Dick Peabody. "About three or four quick rolls in
the dirty usually did the trick."
John Truwe used dog clippers on the actor's beards to keep the length of the stubble
consistent. To keep that gritty look, the actors were supposed to avoid shaving. If they
had to make clean-shaven personal appearances or had a special event to attend, the
directors would try to work around their schedules.
At the '96 Combat! reunion, Jalbert watched the episode "Hills Are for
Heroes" with the fans, and noted, "We all look so dirty and sweaty and filthy.
Just terrible coming down off that hill. Then we stagger into the bunker, take off the
helmets, and we all have perfect two-hundred dollar haircuts ... My hair at the time was
getting a little gray and he [Truey] had a bottle of black stuff and 'squirt, squirt' he
gave me back twenty years."