The transformation – how was it done?

20 Jan

I always wondered what do movie studios do to transform their new contract players into stars? Has anybody any ideas?

Errol arriving in Hollywood:
From this:

To this:

— Tina


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  1. timerider

    January 20, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Well first off he just arrived from cloudy misty England. In the California Sun he was tan most all the time. Then there is the issue with teeth! That was first on Hollyrock’s list I’m sure.
    Grooming tips I think Errol took seriously and he had the best set of ears I’ve ever seen in the natural! Tucked in and when he was young there was not much lobe. As we all age the lobes droop…..LOL!

  2. Tina

    January 20, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Hi timerider:
    Thank you for your input to my question, very much appreciated.

    Yes, he always was well tanned after arriving in Hollywood but I don’t think that that is so important in this comparison as these are all black and white pictures. And yes, you are right his teeth were fixed. But to me – I see such a vast difference and I wonder what do they do to accomplish that?

    The first two pictures after “To This” on my post are taken in 1936 and the difference is stunning as where in the first two pictures he is a good looking man ok but just an ordinary good looking man not stunning as he appears in the next two and from then on. Something extra ordinary must have been done to him, but what is the big question?
    It’s just a curiosity as we all are on this blog – courious?

  3. David DeWitt

    January 20, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    If you have Josef Fegerl’sbook, take a look at Errol on the back cover. You see the future star’s more glamorous looking features are basically there. I think with dental work, expert hair design, and skin care, you can make a rather noticeable transformation. Look at early photos of actor Robert Vaughn in the early Man from UNCLE episodes compared to later shows. His hairstyle changed dramatically, and perhaps his dental care, too. Great looking clothing plays a part. And Errol also matured a lot after first arriving in Hollywood. Interesting subject!

    • Tina

      January 20, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      Thank you David for your reply. It makes a lot of sense what you say. I will look at the Fergel’s book never noticed it before.
      I was just sorting some of my pictures the other day and noticed this difference so I thought I ask and put up the post. It is amazing what they can do in those movie studios. These transformations are always amazing.

  4. Gentleman Tim

    January 20, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Fascinating topic, Tina. Thank you.

    Like timerider, I believe the superior sun, weather, nutrition, dentistry and significant athletic activity did the trick for Flynn, I suspect in addition to the good maturation David suggests. All those beautiful women had to perk Errol up quite a bit, too! Plus, world class grooming. Others needed all that, plus surgery. Here are some interesting info and photos;

    The gruesome truth behind Hollywood’s most famous smiles…

  5. The Zaca

    January 21, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Teeth capped. Great photographers who could make anyone look like gods or goddesses. Lighting. It makes it.

    • Tina

      January 21, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Zaca;
      Thanks for your reply! It sure looks like that they have a fantastic process. I wonder what they could do for us? Hahaha

  6. Gentleman Tim

    January 21, 2016 at 6:13 am



    • Tina

      January 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Wow Tim;
      Rita Hayworth looks like two different women altogether! I would have never recognized her from this first picture of yours and Tom Cruise ugh.
      Totally amazing! Actually I never thought about this subject before till the other day when I looked at the early 1935 pictures of Errol. Even there he tops Rita and Tom and maybe a lot others. He is just Top of the crop!

      • Gentleman Tim

        January 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm

        Fascinating topic, Tina. Thank you.

        You’re right, Flynn was Top of the Crop! Just as so many of his contemporaries attested to – male and female – from Hal Wallis to Joan Crawford, and practically everbody else who saw him in his Hollywood heyday. … When we saw him on a big screen in Dive Bomber Monday, the audience was struck by how handsome. Rather than revealing any faults, he actually looked even better on a big screen. No wonder he was so popular.

        Like timerider, I believe the superior sun, weather, nutrition, dentistry and significant athletic activity did the trick for Flynn, I suspect in addition to the good maturation David suggests. All those beautiful women had to perk Errol up quite a bit, too! Plus, world class grooming. Others needed all that, plus surgery. Here are some interesting info and photos;

        The gruesome truth behind Hollywood’s most famous smiles…

        • Tina

          January 21, 2016 at 9:11 pm

          Hi Tim;
          I read the article about Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich having their teeth removed to receive hollow cheeks and high cheek bones, that is really something and Joan suffering so much from this procedure.
          Fame sure has a high price!
          I wonder if Errol ever had plastic surgery? At least I don’t think so.

          • Gentleman Tim

            January 22, 2016 at 2:29 am

            It can be like pulling teeth trying to find out exactly what stars had what work, but, according to this article, it began during or shortly after World War One, with Greta Garbo and Gloria Swanson being involved early. Of course, in addition to plastic surgery, there were other methods of “looking young and beautiful”, including, as one example, weight loss drugs. Poor Judy Garland was a very notable victim of that, commencing as a teen.

            As for beautiful Rita Cansino, she was obviously regarded too “Latin” by Hollywood for what they had planned for her. So they Anglicized her, apparently scalping her hairline early on.

            This article has some very interesting inside info:


  7. Gentleman Tim

    January 22, 2016 at 2:42 am



    • Tina

      January 22, 2016 at 6:19 am

      Who are these two people Tim?

      • David DeWitt

        January 22, 2016 at 7:03 am

        I recognize Clark Gable!

        • Tina

          January 22, 2016 at 7:31 pm

          You are a genius David! That quiz I never would have won!

        • Tina

          January 23, 2016 at 4:41 pm

          Wow – Clark Gable that is most amazing I would have never recognized him. Now that I know who it is I do see the resemblance but it sure is a surprise!
          I know little about Lady Ga Ga but the transformation is also amazing.

      • Gentleman Tim

        January 22, 2016 at 8:19 am

        Yes, young Clark Gable, with bad teeth, but good breath.

        And Lady Ga Ga, it is said.

        Here’s a beautiful woman:


        • Tina

          January 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm

          I don’t know but maybe Catherine Zeta Jones?
          Who ever she is it is also a great transformation!

          They never had to do that much work on Errol as a matter of fact extremely little in compartment to all the ones you showed here.

          Truly amazing what they can do!

          • Gentleman Tim

            January 22, 2016 at 8:40 pm

            That’s Eva Longoria, with, IMO, a beautiful smile and face both before and after, but definitely different.

            It appears Fraulein Dietrich had a role in facelift history, helping to invent and/or popularize the “Croyden” lift:

            Appears, too, that Liz and Marilyn used to shave more than suspected.


            …. In hindsight, Tina, with all this inside info, Errol must have looked like a nearly perfect specimen to the studios … except perhaps for his somewhat overly long neck, which he often covered with an ascot.


            • Tina

              January 23, 2016 at 4:07 am

              Hm, Eva Longoria I have heard of her but I don’t think I have ever seen her in a movie. Maybe my eyesight is not so good anymore but I find that many of today’s starlets are very much the same type. Sometimes I can hardly distinguish between one from the other. Most of them have the long straight hair and very little difference between one or the other, sort of look a-likes. Of course I don’t mean the real famous stars. Maybe it’s just me?

              About the picture you show from Errol is very odd indeed. I have this picture too. He never had narrow shoulders and on this picture it looks like his had was inserted onto a much smaller body. There is not another picture of him where one could find that or any similarity. Neither did he have a long neck – just something very wrong with this picture. Look at my pictures I posted – no long neck no narrow shoulders. Errol was not deformed in any way but on this picture he looks rather deformed. Do you agree that it is very odd?

              The article link makes great reading a real eye opener. No easy life for a star and Marlene must have been a very inventive woman. She apparently was also a lighting genius and told the lighting director where to put the lights in her movies. I read that some place.

              • Gentleman Tim

                January 23, 2016 at 8:37 am

                Just joking about the neck, Tina. Aside from some dental work, Flynn may not have needed quite as much work as others. He arrived in Hollywood pretty much ready to roll.



                • Tina

                  January 23, 2016 at 4:49 pm

                  That’s better Tim – long neck pooh! He was perfect! But don’t you find this picture extremely odd? I wonder what somebody did to make like this. Maybe somebody tried to make a caricature?

                  • gerry

                    March 29, 2020 at 4:40 pm

                    Regarding the dental work: yes clearly had his teeth capped, but as late as Robin Hood it hadn’t been finished. There are a number of studio portraits of Flynn from RH with him smiling and there is obviously more work to be done. Regarding the before and after photos of stars: They always pick the worst before photo they can find and sometimes it’s not even that person, Don’t forget, Hollywood photogs were the best in the world and they could make almost anyone look good.

                    • Gentleman Tim

                      March 29, 2020 at 11:17 pm

                      Thanks Gerry. Per the article linked below,”Tinkering with teeth has a long and venerable medical past”. Along with a rather biting insult concerning Errol and the English -the latter from Spike Milligan – “nothing made the look of your teeth matter more than the invention of the Hollywood smile”. (The purported discoloration of Errol’s teeth, if true, would likely have been due to his chain smoking.) Only Bugs Bunny was apparently “natural” i.e. no cosmetic surgery or enhancement..