he's born with it

Maybelline Founder Tom Lyle Williams Was A Big Closet Case, Says Grand Neice

Tom Lyle Williams, the founder of Maybelline who introduced cake mascara in 1917, was a big homo who carried on a 35-year romance with advertising executive Emery Shaver (who died in 1964), despite being married and fathering a child, claims a new book from grand neice Sharrie Williams. “To hide his lifestyle,” says Page Six, he “eventually bought Rudolph Valentino’s villa in Hollywood, and planted hundreds of palm trees around the property so he could run the Maybelline empire from protected confines.”

“It was never discussed,” says Williams of her great uncle, who died in 1976.. “We didn’t think anything of it, when he had his own makeup on. We just thought he was a glamorous man. We adored him so much that it wouldn’t have mattered.”

Now about Williams’ famous invention:

In 1915, when a kitchen stove fire singed his sister Mabel’s lashes and brows, Tom Lyle Williams watched in fascination as she performed a “secret of the harem,” mixing petroleum jelly with coal dust and ash from a burnt cork, and applied it to her lashes and brows. Mabel’s simple beauty trick ignited Tom Lyle’s imagination and he started what would become a billion-dollar business and remains a viable American icon after nearly a century. He named it Maybelline in her honor and began selling mascara and brow powder.

Surprise: The gays run fashion and cosmeceuticals.

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    Is she “making this up”?? :p

  • nelson

    This story sounds “shady”.

  • Michael

    It’s always fascinating to me to read about deceased moneyed men, and how close they were with members of their extended family in sharing the intimate details of their personal lives. That Tom Williams sat around discussing the planting of palm trees with his grand niece is an extraordinary testament to his goodness.


    @nelson: Agreed, am wondering if there is any “foundation” to it………… :p

  • jason

    I just think it’s sad that a gay man would contribute to the vanity industry. It proves that, within the gay community, there are men who exploit and promote the notion of vanity in women.

    The vanity industry is based on appearance fascism. It is designed to encourage women to alter their natural appearance in order to appear sexy to men. This is a very patriarchal notion. Gay men, of all people, should NOT be promoting such patriarchal notions.

  • David Ehrenstein

    Clearly Adam Lambert should play him in the movie.

  • Awntime

    It’s niece, not “neice.” Spell-check, please.

  • Kelly Anderson Wright, Reno, NV

    Jason, I find fault (actually, several faults) with your disparaging indictment of the cosmetics industry for being a “vanity industry” that promulgates the “patriarchal” notion that women should “alter their natural appearance…to appear sexy to men.”

    Certainly you did not mean that “vanity” about one’s appearance is a trait exclusive to women? The grand-niece of Mr. Maybelline recounted that he wore makeup, in the privacy of his well-secluded estate, presumably (using your logic) to appeal to his male lover.

    Newsflash –> Makeup has come out of the closet: cosmetics are unisex now, as any fan of Adam Lambert will testify! (Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” taught straight men a plethora of cosmetic tips, too!)

    “Vanity” is a sex-neutral term that is not limited to a sex, sexual orientation or even appearance. We, as human beings, can become overly-obsessed to the point of conceit (therefore, “vain”) about any number of things, be it our looks, intelligence, athletic ability, physical strength, wealth, power… Vanity extends to the cars we drive, the jeans we wear and even the liquor we drink!

    Nearly EVERY industry exploits human vanity as a marketing tool. For example, outside LAX, a huge billboard proclaims as fact, “The car you drive matters.”

    What car do you imagine is parked above this claim? A Lexus LS 600h L, the most expensive model Lexus sells (base price starts at $109K).

    Whose vanity would you say that billboard appeals to? Certainly not mine, nor yours, I suspect. But rather than poo-poo Lexus I say, “Bully for them!” At least Lexus had enough guts to say outloud what many people in Hollyweird actually believe, sad as it is.

    No one “needs” a $100K car. People buy one because they believe that owning such a car will make them feel or look more rich, powerful or attractive than they actually are. And who is to blame for that vain notion? The manufacturer, the marketeer, the car buyer? Or perhaps the people on the street who “ooooh” and “ahhhh” when they see you drive by?

    By the way, I know I don’t need makeup to be attractive, even at 53! My teenage sons tell me I’m beautiful with or without makeup, and I know they’re right. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and I see “pretty” (as in “pretty-damn-good-for-53”) every time I look in the mirror!

    But here’s the God’s honest truth: my gold-green eyes are MUCH more noticeable when I use Maybelline Almost Black eyeliner and Maybelline Big Lash mascara. I don’t just “feel” prettier with make-up, I know I am, because on those rare occasions when I choose to wear makeup, I get lots of “ohhhs” and “ahhhhhs”… from men and women, just like that Lexus owner.

    And Mr. Maybelline even managed to make me feel smarter, too. How? My “vanity industry” cosmetics only cost me $7.21, with tax.

    Rather than own a Lexus, I prefer to buy appreciating assets. So excuse me while I check the stock price history of Maybelline… oops, I mean their parent company, L’Oreal!

    Hasta dude!

    Kelly Anderson Wright
    Reno Conservative Examiner
    (Google me!)

  • sharrie Williams

    Thanks Kelly hope you read about Tom Lyle Williams in my book, The Maybelline Story. And for the record everyone, I never said those things about my great uncle….. The POST as usual, took my interview out of context to sell papers. check my blog at http://www.maybelinebook.com for the tone set when referring to the most wonderful man I ever knew.

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