For the show “Diana” – a version shot without an audience during the pandemic and due to premiere on Netflix on October 1st – he created four wigs for actress Jeanna de Waal to portray the style of the Princess of Wales has changed over time, from lousy naivete to windswept sophistication.
Paul Huntley was born on July 2, 1933 in Greater London, one of five children of a military man and a housewife. From an early age he was fascinated by his mother’s film magazines. After school, he tried to find an apprenticeship in the film industry, but the flooded job market after World War II did not offer a place for him, so he enrolled at an acting school in London.
He eventually helped design hair for school productions and in the 1950s, after two years of military service, became an apprentice at Wig Creations, a major London theater company. He became the main designer and worked with Vivien Leigh, Marlene Dietrich and Laurence Olivier.
Mr. Huntley helped construct the signature braids that Elizabeth Taylor wore in the 1963 film “Cleopatra”. Ms. Taylor introduced him to director Mike Nichols, who a decade later hired Mr. Huntley to do hair for his Broadway production of “Uncle Vanya” in Circle in the Square. He eventually became a designer for plays and musicals, including “The Real Thing”, “The Heidi Chronicles” and “Crazy for You”.
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Mr. Huntley returned to a show on a regular basis to make sure standards were being met. He referred to himself as “the hair police”.
Tony Awards are not given for hair design, but Mr. Huntley was given a special Tony in 2003.
“Everyone says, ‘I want Paul Huntley,'” Broadway producer Emanuel Azenberg once told the Times. “He does the hair organically for the show. It’s not about him. “
Mr. Huntley saw hair not just as a decorative element, but as an expression of an era or a change in society and an integral part of character development. For “Thoroughly Modern Millie” he tried to remember New York City in 1922, his pony, his spit curls and finger waves were marked by a feeling of liberation after the First World War.