Melissa Gilbert is best known for playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House On The Prairie,” which is arguably one of the most wholesome television shows of all time. That’s why it’s come as a surprise to many fans that while filming this show as a small child, Gilbert had one thing in common with the legendary sex symbol Marilyn Monroe.
They shared the same makeup artist! And Gilbert has never forgotten the stories he would tell about the late Hollywood icon.
In her memoir “Prairie Tale,” Gilbert wrote about her early memories of working with Whitey Snyder, who was Monroe’s former makeup artist before her death in 1962.
“[Michael Landon] worked everyone hard,” Gilbert wrote. “He was a perfectionist. But he did things first-class. We traveled by private jet, on big planes, and everyone piled in together. I can remember getting on board and hearing Mike playfully barking at makeup artist Whitey Snider to sit next to him because ‘if the plane goes down, want to look good.’”
Gilbert added that she was shocked when she learned that Snyder had been Monroe’s makeup artist.
“That seemed incredible to me, to be that close to someone who had been that close to a legend, who’d touched her face and also touched mine,” she wrote. “He carried a money clip she’d given him. The engraving said, ‘To Whitey, while I’m still warm. Love, Marilyn.’ Sometimes he let me hold the clip. I’d clasp the metal in my hands and think, God, she picked this out and had it engraved.”
When Gilbert got a little older, Snyder told her that he’d done Monroe’s makeup after the autopsy and “before she was placed in her casket.” Before she died, Monroe made Snyder promise that he’d do her makeup for her funeral, and he followed through by doing just that. He even acted as a pallbearer for her during her funeral as well.
Snyder launched his career in the Hollywood makeup world in 1948 and was hugely successful for decades. He passed away in 1994 at the age of 79 and was survived by his wife, Marjorie Plecher, who had been Monroe’s wardrobe director on some of there movies.