Interesting Facts for Actors and Performers

May 20, 2013
Costume Contact Lenses, Changing eye color with contacts, Debra Paget, Broken Arrow

Debra Paget in “Broken Arrow” 1950

If you perform on stage or in front of television or movie cameras, and you normally wear glasses, you might wish to consider wearing contact lenses to enhance your appearance or change your eye color.  You might also be interested in creative ways contacts have been used in the past and are being used today.

Contact lenses were worn in motion pictures even before they were available to the public.  As far back as 1940, Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles changed their eye color for “Citizen Kane”.  In 1951, Debra Paget changed her eyes from blue to brown so she could play the part of an Indian girl in “Broken Arrow”.  Omar Sharif wore blue contact lenses in “Che Guevera” to disguise himself for his flight into Bolivia, and in the 1960 movie “Flaming Star”, Elvis Presley went from blue to brown.  Such color changes occur frequently today, in movies and in television.

In “The Greatest Story Ever Told”, the 1965 production about life of Christ, Ed Wynn played the part of Lazarus, the blind man whose sight was restored by Jesus.  Opaque contact lenses helped to simulate the blind effect.  (They were removed after the miracle!)  Audrey Hepburn achieved the same effect in the 1967 film, “Wait Until Dark.”  Her performance with the “blind lenses” was lauded as she won an Academy Award.

Contact lenses can create interesting special effects.  Half-silvered mirrored lenses were worn in “Camelot” by Laurence Naismith, to create the special look for his role as Merlin the Magician, and again by Yul Brynner in the 1973 film “Westworld”.  Their most effective use, however, has been in horror movies.  For the role of Dracula, Bela Lugosi wore contacts and his tears were colored with fluorescein, a yellowish-green dye that made his eyes glow in the dark.  Specially designed “demon eyes” were used in “The Exorcist”.  And for actor Bill Bixby’s transformation into “The Incredible Hulk”, he wore contact lenses with a green ring to match the Hulk’s body makeup.

There is no guarantee that your career will be more successful because of contact lenses, but they sure won’t hold you back!

But please heed this warning: Do Not Order “Costume” Contact Lenses over the Web!  The only safe way to use contact lenses is to have them properly fitted to your eyes by a qualified eye care professional.  The costume lenses available through the Internet have a generic curve which could potentially harm your eyes even with short term wear. -TriadNotes

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