In 1975, the month Mrs Thatcher became Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, my wife Jane got a call at her office at Estée Lauder Inc in Mayfair, where she was a senior marketing executive. The call was from Mrs Lauder.
Jane was to take the Head Office trainer, the redoubtable Christine Cartwright, and get straight over to a private address in Flood Steet, Chelsea, where they were expected momentarily, as Americans like to say.
At Flood Street, off the fashionista high street King’s Road, Jane and Christine were greeted by Mrs Thatcher, in her usual busy-can’t-stop mood, and shown straight into a sitting room wallpapered with a vivid parrot design.
While they waited, Denis Thatcher came through the room, ransacking cigarette boxes that proved empty. He finally succeeded in blagging some fags from Christine, before his wife returned from her phone call.
Then it was straight up to the bedroom, where Mrs Thatcher positioned herself in front of a dressing-table and dropped a curious mirror on a harness around her neck, explaining that it allowed her to do her make-up with both hands.
Her make-up was the entire issue. In those early moments of political stardom, Mrs Thatcher still had hair like a steel bonnet and a habit of caking Tory-blue eye-shadow to her eyelids, so thickly that you could have played a few scenes of a CGI movie on them (if CGI had been invented then).
Over the next hour or so, Christine worked expertly to reshape, remake and remodel the Thatcher visage, suggesting colours, techniques and top-of-the-line Estée Lauder products that would help sell the Iron Lady to a demanding public.
The conversation was friendly, brisk and never entirely divulged to me. How many fundamental policy positions were essayed, how many election strategies re-examined, how many strategic directions outlined, I do not know to this day.
They left with grateful thanks ringing in their ears, and a few more from Denis, still out of smokes. Mrs T never looked quite so severe again. Her next mission was to lower her speaking voice.
There were plenty of opportunities to contemplate the success of the Estée Lauder – Christine Cartwright – Jane Davis makeover as Mrs Thatcher appeared on television for the next 15 years and more, but we often found an excuse to change the channel. You could in those days.
None of this, of course, appears in the movie (because I didn’t write the screenplay).
Strip joint-owner Jack Ruby, the Dallas Mob, the CIA and the assassination of JFK.
Starring Danny Aiello and Sherilyn Fenn.
Directed by John MacKenzie.
Screenplay by Stephen Davis from his play Love Field.
See Ruby at the IMDB
Tommy Lee Jones stars as CIA officer Steve Daley trying to unravel the riddle of high-level KGB defector Yuri Nosenko (Oleg Rudnik).
The real-life espionage case that started a secret war inside the CIA.
Screenplay by Stephen Davis.
View the details for the film at the IMDB