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Veteran Broadway Wigmaster Paul Huntley Announces Retirement at 87

Huntley was still working at the time of the theater shutdown; his final show is Diana: A True Musical Story.

Paul Huntley
(© David Gordon)

Veteran Broadway wig designer Paul Huntley has announced his retirement at age 87. Working up until the pandemic began, Huntley's decision was spurred by the worldwide theater shutdown, as well as a recent fall that fractured his pelvis, according to the New York Times.

Huntley designed wigs and styled hair for more than 200 Broadway productions over the course of his career, beginning with Mike Nichols's 1973 revival of Uncle Vanya and ending with 2020's Diana: A True Musical Story, which was in previews when stages went dark and was subsequently taped for Netflix. Among his scores of shows are the original productions of Cats, The Producers, Hairspray, and Fun Home, as well as revivals of Company, Sweeney Todd, The Music Man, and Kiss Me, Kate.

He designed wigs for Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, Faye Dunaway in Network, Glenn Close and Patti LuPone in multiple shows, and, at Taylor's request, created personal hairpieces and eyebrows for Nichols, who'd been bald since the age of 4 after a bad reaction to a whooping-couch vaccine.

Born in England, Huntley has returned to his home country after selling his Upper West Side townhouse, citing financial hardship caused by the pandemic, according to the Times. He intends to return to New York for the reopening of Diana, at a date to be determined. He is the recipient of a 2002 special Drama Desk Award and a 2003 Tony Award for Excellence.


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