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Worked With Nancy Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor : Makeup Artist Way Bandy Dies of AIDS

August 16, 1986|BURT A. FOLKART | Times Staff Writer

Way Bandy, who boasted--with ample justification--that he took many of the world's most beautiful women and made them even more attractive, is dead from complications of AIDS.

The internationally renowned makeup artist, who "designed" Elizabeth Taylor, Sigourney Weaver and Cheryl Tiegs, among many other glamorous women, was 45 when he died of pneumonia brought on by the HTLV-3 virus associated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Helen Murray, Bandy's agent, said her client had kept his illness secret and worked until his admission to New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center on Aug. 6.

"Way was an intensely private person," Murray said. "There was nothing downbeat about his life and there will be nothing downbeat about his death," she said in revealing that he had asked that the specific cause of his death be announced.

A devotee of generic beauty aids--"there aren't any cosmetics on the market that I think are great. . . ."--Bandy masked his own imperfections with a partial face-lift and nose job when his own appearance became vitally important to his professional success.

He was a native of Birmingham, Ala., who graduated with a degree in education from Tennessee Technological Institute and then taught English for several years. He had paid his way through school as a portraitist.

Bandy went to New York City in 1966 and worked as a makeup instructor. Within three years he became director of the makeup department at Charles of the Ritz.

By 1971, his reputation was so well established that he was able to begin free-lancing with a cadre of clients that included Diana Ross, Lee Radziwill, Farrah Fawcett, Raquel Welch, Catherine Deneuve, Taylor, Weaver and Tiegs.

He changed Taylor's eye shadow from blue to brown, converted Martha Mitchell, the flamboyant late wife of former Atty. Gen. and Watergate conspirator John Mitchell from a loquacious housewife whose "mouth was always open" into a stylish matron, and accented what he called Deneuve's "extraordinary face."

He counseled his beauties to concoct their own makeup foundations, using distilled water, transparent fluids, eggs and honey and then clean their faces with avocado or olive oil.

He worked with such top fashion photographers as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Horst and Hiro, and models displaying his au naturel artistry regularly appeared on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar magazines.

Bandy also worked in film, theater, TV and on cosmetic advertisements and wrote two books on makeup, "Designing Your Face," in 1977, and "Styling Your Face," in 1982.

With photographer Francesco Scavullo, who described him as "one of the great makeup artists of our time." Bandy made up First Lady Nancy Reagan in May for a picture in Harper's Bazaar, which will appear in the fall.

Shortly before he died, a picture of Bandy taken with Mrs. Reagan was sent from the White House to his hospital room.

Agent Murray said Bandy was a bachelor, and in keeping with his wishes his survivors will not be identified. A memorial service is pending.

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