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Celebrity Plastic Surgery in the 1940s, 50s, & 60s. Quest for the Ideal Proportions

Updated on October 25, 2015

Young Elizabeth Taylor before her Minor Nose Job

Elizabeth's More Delicate Nose

Celebrity Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is nothing new in the lives of celebrities, however, until the 1990s movie stars were having more subtle plastic surgery and the mention of having something done was absolutely taboo. Plastic surgery was not over used, nor was it done in haste in the 40s and 50s. Celebrities often put up with a few unwanted wrinkles, or an unflattering feature before taking the plunge into making a permanent change.

Stars were have always been seeking an improvement without any obvious drastic change of appearance. The last thing a celebrity of the 1940s or 50s wanted was a headline about how their good looks are all man made. While no movie stars wanted publicity that would make them seem vain and petty, men were especially careful about hiding their plastic surgery.

As perfectly beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor was she had a very minor nose job when she was in her late teens. Although her nose was by no means large, or unattractive, it was slightly out of balance for her small, delicate features.

The bridge of her nose was narrowed and the result was perfection. Elizabeth Taylor's nose did not look "done" and her features were more harmonious.

Her plastic surgeon was a master of his craft. He performed surgery on a near perfect nose and made it even better without the telltale signs of having had surgery.

Dean Martin's original nose

Dean Martin's Face Looked a Little Nosey

Even heart throbs such as Dean Martin took steps to balance out their faces in effort to photograph better. Dean Martin, "The King of Cool", had an over sized nose that took attention away from his better features. His surgeon narrowed the bridge of his nose and left Martin with a smaller version of his original nose and on tell tale signs of having had surgery.

Modern surgeons should take note of what good surgery on a man looks like. Dean Martin's nose was not feminized in any way, nor was he left with the typical, "pinched" look that we tend to associate with plastic surgery. As he aged, his natural looking nose job aged gracefully with the rest of his features.

Den Martin with a More Refined Nose

Dean Martin After his Successful Nose Job

Dean Martin's surgery was done so well that when viewing early photos of him it is plain to see that he did not look as handsome as he did later on, but one does not automatically see that his nose is different. Fans have assumed that aging made Dean more handsome, and camera that angles he was shot from improved with his celebrity, as to why he suddenly looked better. Only those in the field of plastic surgery, dermatology and esthetics spot exactly what the difference is.

Dean Martin had an excellent surgeon who knew that Dean's overly powerful nose, particularly in the bridge area, was keeping him from being a handsome man by Hollywood standards.

His one imperfection was tweaked and the result was a handsome and balanced face in which his nose was not the main attraction by either its size, or its unusual surgical look. The ultimate goal of plastic surgery.

Carmen Miranda Originally had a Wide, Flat Nose

A More Sculpted Carmen Miranda

Carmen Miranda wanted a Petite Nose

Carmen Miranda wanted a more refined and sculpted nose, and she waited until rather late in her career to get it.

After appearing on stage for many years, and making a few movie appearances, Carmen became bothered by her nose because it appeared rather flat, and the technicolor movies she was making did not make the lack of angle in her nose appear very flattering. Her lack of shape in the nose area was indeed more difficult to hide with makeup when using color film.

Miranda's surgery results were exquisite. Her nose still fit her face in size and simply had a narrower and more elegant appearance.

These days we are very accustomed to drastic facial changes on celebrities and have forgotten that plastic surgery of the stars was not about changing every feature in effort to give a completely different face in the 1940s and 50s, but rather to take one bad feature and make it less noticeable.

In Carmen's case, her nose was so shapeless before cosmetic surgery that her entire face seemed wide and without form. As the nose is the centerpiece of the face, it greatly influences its overall balance.

After her surgical refinement, Miranda's smile and twinkling eyes seemed more dramatic. She seemed prettier.

Marilyn Monroe Before her Surgery

Marilyn Monroe before her Plastic Surgery

Marilyn Monroe is perhaps the first major celebrity to have a lot of work done. Marilyn Monroe was a model who knew what she wanted. She had her whole look enhanced, to a level that was not commonly done in the 1940s. Even though she was pretty to start with Marilyn wanted that extra edge what would take her from pretty part-time model, to glamorous movie star.

She had a first class nose job that gave her nose the ideal shape, without the phoney, sharp edges that are so common and downright distracting in plastic surgery. Her jaw, and chin were re-shaped, and all that was left for Marilyn to do was to dye her hair platinum blond and take superb care of her flawless skin.

Marilyn's surgery gave her a more refined, sophisticated look.

Raquel Welch Before Her Nose Job

Almost Perfect

Raquel Welsh was stunning. Her only flaw was an imperfect nose. Off to the surgeon for the correction, and she never looked back.

Raquel Welsh & Her More Refined Nose

Raquel's Beauty Fix

Raquel spent the time and money to fix her flaw, something many stars did, but most still did not. Farrah Fawcett was one of those who did not.

When Raquel Welsh was making Myra Breckinridge" in 1970, in which Farrah Fawcett had her very first part, Raquel approached Farrah and told her, "you are such a pretty girl, its really too bad about your nose."

Farrah was so devastated that she remembered that line for the rest of her life. Perhaps Farrah had confidence that her flaw would not hold her back, but one thing is for sure, Raquel did not offer Farrah the phone number of the doctor who had helped her out almost a decade earlier.


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    • profile image


      17 months ago

      Cannot believe that was elizabeth taylor, she did not look like she had beauty.

    • profile image

      inaccurate photo 

      3 years ago

      the "before" photo of dean martin is actually an "after" of his nose post-op

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hey Beautiful Lady! I am 49 and looking at hnviag surgery in the new year, I can't thank you enough for posting this video as I have been wondering about the loose skin especially as Im older.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You are stunning; it takes so much cguaroe and soul to show millions your after body I'm so happy you found happiness I wish my insurance would pay or help pay for it but they don't.:(You look great and Thank you so much for the upbeat video..:))))

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I see no difference.

      Make-up help them rather surgery.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Very interesting, some of them don't even look like themselves. Especially Marilyn Monroe. Although she was pretty before. Very good research. Voted up, interesting.

    • vibesites profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Marilyn looks like an altogether different person after the surgery! Thanks for sharing the stars' before and after pics. Voted up and interesting. :)

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      @ billybc- thank you. Nice to see you again. This is my first Hub of the year. I am a little rusty :)

      @ peachpurple- thank you so much. Yes, the nose job is king. I can remember hearing about the stars always having surgery, but it was not all over the papers as it is these days.

      @teaches12345- Great to see you here. I agree. Elizabeth Taylor was incredibly stunning, and Monroe had some first class surgery that modern stars would envy.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      This is a surprise to me. I think Taylor is one of the most beautiful actress ever to grace Hollywood. Wow, Monroe looks so different after her surgery. Great post!

    • MissBrando profile image


      7 years ago from DC, MD, VA area

      This was very interesting to me as well. Thanks so much for sharing! Great Hub!

    • peachpurple profile image


      7 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wonderful hub. So many actresses got their nose job done to have a more sharpen noses. Voted up

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was interesting. I had no idea although I'm not surprised! Well done!


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