|Janesville Wisconsin October 1969
Bodel Triple Threat in Tinsel City under the sponsorship of
Los Angeles County. In 1948. the former local beauty married
Burman Bodel in Hollywood. They had been married previously,
Feb. 9, 1947, in Tiajuana, Mexico. They met in 1946 when
they Were appearing in the Broadway play, "Made in the
Ozarks," in which he played the lead and she played the
second lead. An actor, director and dramatist, Mr. Bodel
died July 17. Mrs. Bodel has appeared in numerous movies and
recently finished a part in the Hollywood theatrical
production, "Picnic." She enacted the role made famous by
Roz Russell. Mrs. Bodel has been employed as a hairdresser
at most of the major motion picture and television studios
in Hollywood. She worked on the all-Negro movie. "Up Tight,"
which was directed by Julies Dassin and did the hair styles
for the cast of "Funny Girl." When Mrs. Bodel was "Pretty
Jeanne Masky" Bodel-is a triple threat in Hollywood these
days. The happy, hardworking and successful Janesville High
School graduate is a model, actress and one of the most
sought after hair stylists in tinsel city. Mrs. Bodel was
born in Janesville and formerly lived at 356 St. Mary's Ave.
"with her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Antone A. Masky. An
only child, she graduated from JHS with the Class of 1944
after serving as vice president of her class, president of
the Carrie Jacobs Bond Glee Club and art editor of the
Blue-J. She was president of the Glee Club and girls' choir.
Soon after commencement, she began a career as a fashion
model and entertainer, making her professional debut in
minor roles at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee. She appeared
for .some time at the College Inn, Chicago. While in the
Windy City, she was an artists' model at the Chicago Academy
of Fine Arts as well as modeled for fashion photography. In
1945, she was chosen Chicago's Miss Courtesy and was
named queen of the International Sportsman's Show at the
Chicago Coliseum. At that time, her professional
name was Johnee Williams. She appeared in the Marcus
vaudeville production in Salt Lake City and completed a tour
of the western and southern states in the Barnes and Corruthers show. "Wings of Victory." A Walter T. Thornton
model, she was a cover girl in the late 40s and early 50s
and her picture appeared in Bazaar, Vogue and Life
magazines. She once appeared on the Cover of Detective
magazine. Later, the Janesville native performed on Broadway
and in summer stock. Between engagements she worked as a
receptionist at a beauty school in Manhattan and became so
interested in the art of hairstyling that she decided to
take lip the work professionally. She moved to the West
Coast and studied at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College,
where she won her certificate in hairdressing. She continued
her dramatic art education at City College of Los Angeles.
Her first position in Hollywood was as fashion coordinator
for a large department store. She taught a charm course for
Frankenstein look-alike Herman Munster may not have had
much hair on the top of his square head, but the little
that he did have was meticulously groomed by Jeanne
Bodel, 85, a Laguna Niguel resident, is a former
hairstylist who worked on several TV and film stars in
Hollywood, including Fred Gwynne, patriarch in The
Munsters TV show in the 1960s.
“The show was so much fun,” she said. “Fred was kind and
Although she enjoyed the Hollywood gig for 10 years, it
did wear on her.
“I got really tired of sitting around on the sets
because I wasn’t always working,” said Bodel, who
slightly resembles actress Lauren Bacall. “I would get
called, and sometimes I’d only work 15 minutes out of an
eight-hour day. But if you were hired to be on set, you
had to be there the entire day. I spent a lot of time
sitting around and doing nothing; I was too active to do
Many Famous Stars
During her decade in the business, she said, she created
hairstyles for characters including Gwynne’s on-screen
wife, Lily, played by the late Yvonne De Carlo.
“She really didn’t need much styling because she wore
this long wig that was pulled over her own hair,” Bodel
said, mimicking the way De Carlo’s wig was attached.
“Then, her own bangs would be pulled back and then over
to hold it in place. She would always make a big deal
that it wasn’t right."
De Carlo was not her favorite star to work with, but the
late Natalie Wood was as sweet as could be, Bodel said.
“Natalie was very sweet, almost a sad soul,” she
recalled. “I washed and set her hair. I think it was in
the 1960s for some movie.”
One of Bodel’s favorite actors to work with was the late
Bob Crane, who played Col. Hogan in the 1960s TV show
Hogan’s Heroes . “He was so fun and warm," she said. “So
sad what happened to him. "
Bodel was also won over by actress Inger Stevens, the
star of The Farmer’s Daughter, who personally asked the
producer for Bodel to accompany the star while she was
often sent on location.
An only child, Bodel was the daughter of a homemaker and
an auto mechanic. She set her sails for Hollywood early
in life. However, she did accomplish quite a bit before
setting foot in California.
Bodel was born in the Chicago area and later lived in
Wisconsin, where she attended Janesville public schools.
She came to Hollywood via train after marrying stage
star Burman Bodel in the early 1950s in the Midwest.
Her real dream, she said, was modeling, something she
did quite a bit of in her heyday.
“I worked at a Fannie May Candy shop in high school, and
someone suggested that I become a model because I was so
tall, at 5 feet, 9 inches,” she said. “The day after I
graduated, I hopped a train and moved to Chicago. I got
a job at the Charles A. Stevens Department Store, and
shortly after being hired, I started modeling clothing.
I made $40 a week, and that was a lot of money at the
time. When I worked in the candy store, I made 40 cents
an hour after school and on Saturdays. I was hoping I
could make 60 cents an hour, and in my mind I thought a
penny would drop in my account for every minute I
Longing for a career in show business, Bodel spent her
free time on stage and performing in summer stock.
“I used to go on interviews for stage shows, and they
always wanted me to play an old woman,” she said,
Always busy, Bodel added cosmetology school to her
schedule and eventually earned her license, which came
A Big Break
While working as a cosmetologist, she met Jean Burt
Reilly, who was the head hairstylist at Warner Bros.
“I met this other makeup artist and asked her, "How do I
get into the movies," and she told me to call Jean, and
the next thing I know, I am doing a movie star’s hair,”
she said. “I was in the industry for 10 years, until I
just got bored. All you do is sit, and you have to stay
there even if they don’t need you. You have to be on
call, and that means sitting on the set all day, even if
you have a single comb-out on a bit player.”
One of the highlights, however, was meeting actress Hedy
Lamarr, the Austrian beauty who is also credited for
co-inventing the torpedo guidance system.
“I always wanted to look like her, and when I was in the
makeup room one day, I told one of the hairdressers that
I wanted to meet her,” she said. “She said, ‘Go ahead’;
she was right next door.
“I went in and said, ‘Ms. Lamarr, I have worshipped your
acting, and I’ve always wanted to look like you. … I
even parted my hair in the middle. ... And she said,
‘OK, thank you.’ And that was it.”
Bodel worked at several of the movie studios, and she
liked Warner Bros. best. She disliked MGM because it was
too far from where she was living.
“When I was at one of the studios, I worked on Bob
Crane’s show a lot, mostly on the women who worked
alongside of him. He was lovely.”
A Full Life Still
Leaving the lights of Hollywood behind, she moved to her
Laguna Niguel home in the 1970s and has been a resident
She did leave her mark on many, including Stephen Cox,
who wrote The Munsters: A Trip Down Mockingbird Lane, in
which Bodel appears twice.
"Jeanne Bodel had the great responsibility, being one of
the hair and makeup personnel on such a bizarre show, of
helping create and maintain some extraordinary makeup
techniques used in television," he said. "I think black
and white actually aided the process here and helped
provide a mood for the show, as well as assisting in the
job of allowing a viewer to forget about realism, and
throwing that away for the half hour.
"We got lost in the world of the Munsters and their
crazy appearance and wonderfully comic personalities.
They became 'family' to many a child watching.
"The makeup and hair process for the cast of The
Munsters was painstaking, and the results were something
close to fantastic," Cox continued. "Bravo to Jeanne and
the rest of the makeup and hair technicians on this
classic. Even in high-definition clarity of today, the
show is amazing to watch in glorious black and white. It
really is a standout sitcom of the '60s."
These days, however, Bodel may not be doing hair, but
she is an active real estate agent with her own company,
“I’m still busy and still working,” she said. “Do I miss
the Hollywood life? Sometimes.”
And just in case, her cosmetologist's license is still