Joel Harlow (born February 2, 1968) is an American make-up artist. He works steadily in many high-profile films.

Joel Harlow
Born (1968-02-02) February 2, 1968 (age 51)
EducationSchool of Visual Arts
OccupationMake-up artist
Years active1987–present

Harlow won an Academy Award for his work in the successful film Star Trek (2009), subsequently receiving another two nominations for The Lone Ranger (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016).

Life and careerEdit

Born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Harlow was inspired to work in film-making after seeing the 1933 film King Kong as a child. He later explained that he spent "hours in the basement creating things and I knew I wanted to make characters. I just didn't know what it was at the time, that makeup was the way to do that."[1] After graduating from high school he moved to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts, where he majored in animation.[2]

Harlow worked together with actor Johnny Depp on several films, such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Alice in Wonderland. While they were both working on The Rum Diary in Puerto Rico, they found a photograph of a Native American which they developed into the makeup design used on Tonto as played by Depp in the 2013 film The Lone Ranger. They had also used it to encourage Walt Disney Studios into producing the film, as at the time that they discovered the image, the film was close to being dropped.[1] In the final design of Tonto, some eight prosthetics were created by Harlow for Depp and eighteen overlapping prosthetics when the actor played the older version of the character.[1]


In 2008, Harlow was nominated with Debbie Zoller, Brian Penikas and Jake Garber for an Emmy Award for Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries, Movie Or A Special for their work on the Mad Men season one episode "Nixon vs. Kennedy".[3]

He was a member of the team that won the Academy Award in 2009 for Star Trek, which he shared with Barney Burman and Mindy Hall.[4] This was the first Oscar to have been awarded to any film in the franchise.[5] He was once again nominated for an Academy Award for his work on The Lone Ranger alongside hairstylist Gloria Pasqua-Casny.[6] He was the only person in the category who had previously been nominated.[7] The award went to Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews for Dallas Buyers Club.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Murray, Rheana (January 22, 2014). "Oscar-winning makeup artist Joel Harlow on Johnny Depp, 'The Lone Ranger' and making monsters". NY Daily News. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  2. ^ "Oscar Week: Make-up and Hairstyling". The Oscars. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  3. ^ "Mad Men". Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  4. ^ "The 82nd Academy Awards (2010) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  5. ^ "Avatar and Star Trek clean up technical Oscars". SyFy. Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  6. ^ "Makeup and Hairstyling: The Lone Ranger - Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny". The Oscars. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  7. ^ Rich, Katie (February 18, 2014). "How The Lone Ranger Earned Its Best Makeup Oscar Nomination". Vanity Fair. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  8. ^ "The Winners". The Oscars. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2014.

External linksEdit