Nashville makeup artist disputes ‘Oprah’ book claims

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 11:35am
Staff reports

A Nashville makeup artist quoted in celebrity journalist Kitty Kelley’s latest release, Oprah A Biography, is calling foul on some of the statements Kelley attributed to her.

Joyce Daniel Hill's attorney, Rose Palermo, said Kelley misrepresented what Hill, who gave makeup advice to the news staff at WTVF-TV in the 1970s, told the writer in a conversation two years ago. Winfrey got her first job in television at the Nashville station, then called WLAC-TV.

Hill said she never told writer Kitty Kelley, as Kelley alleges in her book released last week, that the television superstar may have bleached her skin to look lighter.

Kelley quoted Hill as saying, “We were just getting used to color cameras in those days and had only a few shades of pancake makeup available. I blended a special shade for Oprah. She is considerably lighter now than she was 34 years ago. I have no idea why. Maybe it's just better makeup artists or some kind of skin bleaching.”

Hill said Friday, according to her attorney, that she never told Kelley she blended a “special shade” of makeup for Winfrey.

“As a matter of fact, we were not using pancake then,” Hill said. “We were using a TV makeup by Vincent Kehoe called RCMA.” She recalled the shade that Winfrey used, “K-N2 or 3.”

Hill said Kelley asked her whether Winfrey bleaches her skin. “I told her, I have no idea if she bleaches her skin.” She said Kelley pressed her on the subject, saying, “Can't you give me some gossip?” She said she responded, “I don't do gossip.”

The makeup artist said she is “distraught” that Kelley has distorted what she said about Winfrey. “What I told her must have been too upbeat.”

Hill said that Winfrey “was a joy to work with,” more than 30 years ago, but she has had no contact with the superstar since then.

The book, at 524 pages, contains “lengthy rehashes of well-known embarrassments” with “nothing new to add to these stories,” according to a New York Times review.

One piece of new information is a section that claims Vernon Winfrey isn’t the media mogul’s biological father. It was that chapter that Winfrey referenced when she made her only public comment on the book.

People magazine got the scoop.

Winfrey was in New York on Monday presenting an award to her best friend, Gayle King, when she said referenced the book, noting last week was a “rough one.”

“Gayle got herself worked out with all my new daddies coming out,” People reported Winfrey said. “This, too, shall pass.”

The fact that Kelley’s latest work is raising questions should not be a surprise for those familiar with the writer’s unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Previous works covered Frank Sinatra, the British Royal Family and the Bush family, among others.

His Way, the Sinatra story, details his tumultuous marriages, alleged affairs and his links to the Mob; and in The Family, the story of the Bush family, Kelley claimed that George W. Bush snorted cocaine at Camp David during his father's presidency.

Filed under: City News

5 Comments on this post:

By: localboy on 4/22/10 at 7:26

Well, Ms. Kelly got out of this story what she wanted...more publicity. What a gem.

By: govskeptic on 4/22/10 at 8:06

One jewel in the book is the mention of Oprah
and John Tesh being roommates and "Lovers"
while he lived here and worked at WSMV.
In a recent interview Tesh says they did
date during that time frame.

By: shef2 on 4/22/10 at 1:56

Maybe if we ignore this book, and K. K. (where's the 3rd K.?) sales of it will drop...

By: richgoose on 4/24/10 at 3:13

Considering how powerful the "Jerry Springer show" has become to an element of Americans I would say that Oprah Winfrey must have been a pretty good person.

I would say that the dirt that was dished by this author was pretty tame compared with the dirt that the average American accumulates during their under 30 years on earth.

I am not so much an Oprah fan but I am impressed with her integrity even though I disagree with her politics.

By: dreamweaver on 6/14/11 at 10:01

Ok lets face it. In the pics of Oprah 25 years ago, she is a LOT darker than she is now. A LOT. Why is there nothing at all on the internet about this? Why are there no questions or comments about it? I looked for a half hour before I found this thread.

This is a valid question. I don't care that she's lighter now, I am just very curious why, and even more curious about why there's nothing anywhere about it.