Monday, July 1, 2024

Sharrie Williams is an award-winning Celebrity Columnist, Commentator and author of The Maybelline Story.


She is none other than Tom Lyle Williams’ great niece, the founder of Maybelline, which is now one of the most popular makeup brands worldwide. Tom Lyle revolutionized the world of beauty with his innovation of the Maybelline Cake Mascara and changed an entire industry. In The Maybelline Story she describes Tom Lyle Williams’ humble beginnings when he started out with his first creations for a darker, fuller eyelash look, inspired by his sister Mabel. In her honor, he named the company Maybelline which became a huge success over the years thanks to his keen business acumen and his imaginative mind for beauty products.

Sharrie Williams has been very committed to spreading her great uncle’s legacy and reviving the history of the Maybelline empire by engaging in public speaking. 

Nevertheless, at some point, all went wrong. Her grandmother squandered all her money and was murdered. This incident was followed by a painful divorce and several hard years of struggling with personal troubles and recovering from addiction. She almost lost everything - but not her strength.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

The Coroner’s Report: Miss Maybelline, the Pied Piper, and a Clown Named Hobby-Episode 2

The Coroner’s Report Episode 2 on Youtube

Join former coroner and state crime lab director Steve Nawojczyk and Tracey Carrington as they revisits the 1978 fire that took the life of Maybelline heiress, Evelyn Williams. Was the fire a horrible accident or was it murder? Maybe, it was something in between. Episode 2 begins in the mid 70s following Evelyn’s divorce from Hobby Derrick. Evelyn moves her wigmaker, Danny King, to Hot Springs, Arkansas to help her run the roller rink, but Danny has other plans involving a dinner theater and country music sensation Conway Twitty. Follow Evelyn through all the twists and turns of this crazy story leading up to the death of the Maybelline Queen.

Podcast available on all streaming services. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and all social media platforms. 

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Coroner’s Report: Miss Maybelline, the Pied Piper, and a Clown Named Hobby-Episode 1

The Coroner’s Report: Miss Maybelline, the Pied Piper, and a Clown Named Hobby-Episode 1
Join former coroner Steve Nawojczyk as he revisits the 1978 fire that took the life of Maybelline heiress, Evelyn Williams. Was the fire a horrible accident or was it murder? Maybe, it was something in between. What was her connection to Arkansas?  Episode 1 recounts the twists and turns of all the parties through their relationships, fate that brought them all together in Newport Beach, California in 1974, and a plot to take her fortune from her. 
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Sunday, March 24, 2024

Who Killed Maybelline Heiress

Click on link:  Who Killed Miss Maybelline?

The Coroner's Report podcast coming soon


Newest media YouTube promotion


Monday, March 4, 2024

Maybellines "It Girl" Clara Bow unleashes the excitement of the Roaring 20's.

Between 1922 and 1929, Clara Bow's vitality and sexiness defined the liberated woman of the 1920s. Clara Bow (1906-1965) became one of Hollywood's brightest lights during this time. Click highlighted words to see and read more about Clara Bow. 

'The "It" Girl'.  "It" symbolized the tremendous progress women were making in society. 

Maybelline in 1922 came out with their own "It Girl" with an illustration of Clara Bow and coining the slogan "Eyes that Charm!  This ad influenced liberated young girls to take up the challenge of the 1920's and recreate the image of Women by wearing eye-makeup on the street. 
No three sisters were more influenced by the "It Factor" then my grandmother Evelyn and her sisters Verona and Bunny.

My great aunt Bunny at 18 in 1921 made a statement with this picture as she blatantly flaunted her acceptance of wearing makeup in broad daylight after bobbing her hair, raising the hem of her dress and rolling up her stockings.
Bunny in black silk
Bunny with rolled up stockings.
 Clara Bow brought an excitement to the screen and girls went bonkers taking on the spirit of the Roaring 20's.  Evelyn and her sisters were no exception and jumped on the Band Wagon right from the start.

The three sisters, Evelyn, Verona and Bunny in short black silk dresses and fully made up eyes were the torch bearers of their generation.  City girls, born in Chicago, educated as well as talented musicians and dancers they turned heads as they walked down the street or cruised in their daddy's flashy convertible.  The Boecher Girls were definitely influenced by Clara Bow and considered themselves having "It" as well!

Tribute to Clara Bow: The Pointer Sisters sing I Get So Excited

Read more about the It Girl Clara Bow and the Boecher sisters in The Maybelline Story.

Check out this post I did on Clara Bow.

Friday, February 16, 2024

How did Evelyn Williams play into the Maybelline Story

"It all began with the "eyes." In the book, The Maybelline Story, by Sharrie Williams, she tells the fascinating account of the early beginnings of her family in rural Kentucky, from 1911, to their glory days in Hollywood with Joan Crawford appearing in Maybelline print ads in the late 1940's, to the 1970's as fortune affected the family.

Maybelline Mascara Super Model Joan Crawford taken in 1946.  Photograped by Paul Hesse, Hollywood.

By 1953, the cosmetics company was known throughout the world for their print ads of gorgeous flirty models catching everyone's attention with their Maybelline mascara eyes. Williams' great uncle is Tom Lyle Williams, a marketing genius who built a billion dollar cosmetics empire over many years from just $500. he borrowed from his older brother, Noel.

The Beginning of Maybelline Mascara

Tom Lyle loved movies. As a fifteen-year-old who ran the projector room at the local nickelodeon, he was mesmerized by starlet Mary Pickford's eyes, as she flirted with them in her movie, Sultan's GardenWhat made her so alluring? A very motivated, self-starter, Tom Lyle began finding out ways to make money by figuring out what people wanted.

He left the family farm in Morganfield, Kentucky, when he was still just a teenager, to join his brother, Noel, 23, who was working as a bookkeeper for Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago. The year was 1912. Chicago's population was 1.7 million. The brothers lived in Noel's boarding house near a slum of overcrowded tenement buildings.

It was in this environment that the brothers, driven by Tom Lyle's passionate courage, began a mail-order business. Tom Lyle sacrificed. He invested every penny he could scrape together. By 1914, at the age of 18, he was making serious money with his novelty-catalog business. In 1915, he had asked his sister, Mabel, to join them. He put her to work counting orders. The business was making $36,500. a year, which is the equivalent of over a half a million dollars today.

Mabel's Accident Births a Maybelline Mascara Fortune

Tom Lyle's sister insisted on cooking for her brothers. While Mabel was making cake frosting one morning by melting sugar in a pan, the liquid got too hot. Flames shot up and singed Mabel's eyebrows and eyelashes. She looked like a bare-faced mannequin. But, Mabel was not deterred, either. She had been secretly reading movie star magazines. She had read that these starlets, like Gloria Swanson, used a concoction called, "harem secret," to make their eyes beautiful.

Mabel mixed ash from cork she burned, with coal dust, and blended this mixture by using petroleum jelly. She dabbed this goo onto her eyebrows and the tips of her eyelashes. The transformation was amazing. Mabel's eyes were stunning. Then, an idea struck Tom Lyle like a bolt of lightening. Of course, it wasn't the clothes or smiles that made Hollywood goddesses glamorous. It was their "eyes." Mascara was born. The name Maybelline came from Mabel and the Vaseline mixture.

Miss Maybelline and Mascara's Destiny

By the time the 1920's came roaring into Chicago, women had claimed the right to vote, hold hands with men in public, smoke cigarettes, and a whole lot more. They took full advantage of their new-found freedom. Tom Lyle's entire family was in Chicago at this time, helping in the business of making Maybelline mascara. Tom Lyle's younger brother, Preston, incredibly handsome, a WWI hero, was watching a Memorial Day Parade when he and Evelyn Boecher spotted each other. Evelyn also spotted Tom Lyle.

"She fell in love with both brothers on the same day," says Sharrie Williams, of her grandmother, Evelyn Boucher. Evelyn was one of three daughters of John Boucher, a wealthy plumber, who spoiled his girls rotten. Always dressed in fine clothes, refined by music lessons, Evelyn, Bunny and Verona defined elegance. It was Evelyn, however, who became Tom Lyle's muse, and helped catapult Maybelline into the mascara cosmetics market. Sharrie relates in her book, The Maybelline Story: "Destiny arrived right on time, in the form of Evelyn Boucher."

Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic

Evelyn married Preston, but she continued to be the eyes and ears for Tom Lyle when it came to women and what they wanted. She contributed many ideas for the Maybelline mascara ads that put the company on the map around the world.

"Nana had very good insight, " says Sharrie. "She was an observer, a people-watcher. She loved to go to public places. She'd watch what women were wearing, what they talked about, laughed about. She would take it all in, then she would be able to condense this information and tell Tom Lyle. They would have dinner together and she would let him know - this is what women are looking for. This is what they want."

One day, Tom Lyle asked Evelyn to pick up some flyers from the printers, that he was going to mail to dime stores around the country. This was the time when Al Capone and other gangsters practically owned Chicago. Drive-by shootings and loud-mouthed gangsters were part of the city's fabric. Clutching an arm-load of flyers, Evelyn was almost to the Maybelline building when a car backfired. Everybody ducked, thinking it was gunshot. Evelyn jumped and threw her arms into the air, releasing the flyers, which were picked up by the wind.

An astute newspaper reporter snapped her photo. The next day, the newspaper printed Evelyn's photo with this title: "Miss Maybelline Stops Traffic." Orders for Maybelline mascara came pouring in. As Sharrie recalls, in her book, The Maybelline Story: "My uncle said to Nana: ' Evelyn, with that one photo you've accomplished more for marketing Maybelline than any flyer ever could."

Copyright Anne Mount. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

There was no one in the Maybelline family more invincible than Evelyn least that's what she wanted us all to believe.


Maybelline Queen! Evelyn Williams - Oh What Price Glory!


My grandmother Evelyn with my father William Preston Williams at Dundee Military School, Chicago, 1934 -1935

With the same voratious appetite Evelyn had for succeeding in all areas of her life, including playing the violin, mastering the stage as a ballerina and finally securing a position within the Maybelline family, she focused on her only child William Preston Williams Jr. (Bill.)  

Evelyn wasn't your ordinary sweet homemaker, though she did love her son as ferociously as a mother Lion loves her cub, however her main objective was to instill a mindset for survival in the boy and that meant creating an indisputable bond between Bill and his uncle Tom Lyle Williams. 

She succeeded, though not  without making herself unpopular with the rest of the Williams family.  Evelyn fought on the battlefield of life in her persuit to win at all costs and today I realize my remarkable grandmother, the original auntie Mame, was two generations ahead of her time. 

A tiny 5' 2" powerhouse with boundless energy,   Machavellian mental machinations and the ability to outsmart the smartest of wild cats, she had one desire.  To place her clan at the top of the heap no matter what the price -and Evelyn paid the highest price of all... with her life! 

Read more about Evelyn Williams incredible story and her ability to get what she wanted - while growing even more beautiful and glamorus as she aged in

The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.  

Nana was a diva in every respect and not only expected but demanded I follow in her footsteps. I wonder if she'd be pleased today with the fact I've dedicated my life to her memory and the family she loved so much. 

What kept Maybelline Heiress, looking youthful until her death at 77

Total Relaxation with Moist Heat Therapy

            Tom Lyle Williams with his sister-in-law, 65 year old, Evelyn Williams, 1966

I too have been using them for over 30 years and here is why...  Hydroculators are packed with soothing relief.  Chiropractors use them relax a patient's tight back after an injury and for management of pain do to:  Arthritis, Bursitis, Sprains, Strains, Backaches and stress.

  Nana had been in a couple of accidents and loved how the hydroculators relaxed not only her back but the stress on her face.  It works by releasing steam from the pack penetrating so deep it gets blood back into pinched nerves and relaxes them completely.

  I have to admit that after lying on my hydroculators or hot steam packs I sleep like a baby and my face shows no stress.  Try it and see how this secret will work for you.  Read more about Nana in my book "The Maybelline Story."  

Nana, Evelyn Williams at 77

Vintage Beauty trick taken to a New level. Sensory Deprivation the ultimate in relaxation

Evelyn relaxing at her new home in West Los Angles, California, 1938.

Relaxation is a Beauty Secrets.

After Evelyn and Bill followed Tom Lyle to California he bought them a little bungalow in West Los Angeles, a few miles from the Villa Valentino in the Hollywood Hills where he and Emery lived. Tom Lyle gave Evelyn a nice allowance and told her to rest and enjoy the California sunshine. She took his advice about relaxing but never ever allowed the sun to touch her perfect alabaster skin for more than 10 minutes, just enough to soak in a little vitamin D. 

Speaking of soaking, I remember one of Nana's most famous beauty secrets, was soaking in a hot tub with three cups of Epsom salt and sometimes even a cup of baking soda to soften her skin. She told me there was nothing in the world better for relaxing tense muscles after a game of badminton than a half hour in the tub with Epsom Salt. She believed that a good soak erased a multitude of sins and kept her looking young all her life.

When I became a teenager I soaked in an Epsom Salt bath before getting dressed for a Saturday night date. I believed it slimmed me down so I could fit in my "skinny pants" in 1964, and it was so relaxing that I felt like a million bucks and looked fabulous. Try it yourself and see if it doesn't make you feel relaxed and look beautiful too. 

Today I've taken relaxing in an Epson Salt bath to a new level. Sensory-deprivation-tank, or floating, is the ultimate in relaxation and meditation.  My grandmother would probably have one in her home if she were alive today. Read about on this link and try it for yourself . It's worth it.

What can readers take away from The Maybelline Story and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It.

Why did you write the Maybelline Story

It's been a long process.  My grandmother began telling me the Maybelline story when I was a young girl and the seed was planted.

Nana, Evelyn Williams
After her death I was determined to finish it.  I knew that if I didn’t tell the story it would be lost forever. The Maybelline Story is a thread in the fabric of American history and a big part of vintage Hollywood glamour.  I also wanted my great uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, the founder of the Maybelline Company to be remembered for his tremendous contribution to the Cosmetic industry as well.  

Growing up with a great uncle who made my life so magical.  It wasn't about the money;   It was about being so close with my cousins and the fun of sharing our excitement as the Maybelline grew into a global giant.  Now as an older woman I hope to give back some of the wisdom and strength I gained ridding this roller coaster experience.

My dad, Nana, Uncle Lyle and Emery Shaver sitting down

My grandmother, Evelyn Williams was married to Tom Lyle's brother Preston, my grandfather.  After Preston's death, at only 37 years of age, she and my 12-year-old father followed Tom Lyle from Chicago to California.  The three of them remained extremely close and loved to talk about the good old days when Maybelline was a little mail order business sold through the classifieds in Movie magazines.  I was so fascinated by their stories as a little girl that all I wanted to do was hear more, as often as possible.  Soon I became my grandmother’s little protege and eventually her little clone.  So yes I was indoctrinated at an early age with the rules of the game, the family dynamics and I did know and appreciate the tremendous contribution Tom Lyle bestowed on women and the world of beauty. 

What advice can you give others who want to follow in your uncle’s shoes? For the underdogs.

Tom Lyle Williams was the biggest underdog of all, of course.  That's what the Maybelline Story is all about.  He started out with nothing more than a good idea, lots of determination and a $500 loan from his brother and turned it into a worldwide brand.  It's all about building your brand and your reputation.  Brands come and go if it's not built on integrity.  Like doing a blog...It takes about three years before you really see results and during that time, you develop discipline and determination, or you give up and never see the results of your labor.  As my great uncle would say... It's easy to be excited and happy when it's new and easy... the true test of success, is keeping the momentum going during the down cycles.  If you believe in your project, you have to keep going even though it might take years.  It took me 20 years to get published and I wanted to give up and burn my manuscript all the time.  When I least expected it, the miracle happened and now the energy I put forth building that momentum is expanding the blog and my voice into the world - Because I never gave up.

What is this book about? Is there anything in this book that you did not publish? Care to share?

The Maybelline story is about a young 19-year-old entrepreneur who rides the ups and downs of life while building a little company called Maybelline. The book is a rags to riches story with an interesting twist in the end you won't forget.

Who are your greatest influences and why?

My father Bill Williams was Tom Lyle's nephew and godson. He grew up at the Villa Valentino in Hollywood where he learned the secrets to his uncle’s great success.  My father was an extremely talented interior designer and builder.  When my home burned down in the 1993 Laguna Beach, California Firestorm I lost everything because I wasn't home.  I wanted to give up and die, but it was my father who held me together and helped me get back on my feet.  I thrived because of his determination to see me overcome my doubts and succeed.  He designed and helped me rebuild my home.  He also helped me research and write my book.  I learned so much from him and now carry that spirit of “Yes I can!” with me to pass onto the next generation.  

What will readers take from this great read?

They will be inspired to believe anything is possible if they  keep going and never give up. 

What was the best advice your uncle or mother gave you about beauty?

My mother believed that beauty was an inside job.  That who you are inside is reflected on your face.  You see beautiful young girls turn into nasty middle-aged women and bitter old ladies.  All the Maybelline in the world can't cover up the truth of who you are inside.  If a woman doesn't grow, change and accept life she will remain a spoiled unattractive child in an aging body.  All women must work on their attitude and mature within to keep their youthful effervescent beauty into old age.   Like the saying goes, Maybe She's born with it... Maybe it's Maybelline.

Describe your best achievement with your family name and without?

My best achievement with the Maybelline name so far, is writing my book and becoming a positive role model for women who want to achieve their goals.  It's not about make-up for me anymore; it's way beyond make-up.   Without the Maybelline name, my biggest achievement is being Mom and Nana and a positive role model for my family I grow into old age.  

Evelyn Williams (Nana), Bill Williams (my dad), Sharrie Williams (me)Tom Lyle Williams (my great uncle) 1965

 favorite childhood memory

Going up to my great uncle's home in Bel Air California with my family and playing with him in the pool.  I remember he was such an unassuming man that he'd actually wear swim trunks pinned at the waist because the elastic had stretched out.  Here was a man who could afford the best and yet was so comfortable with himself around his family; he didn't need to show off.  On the other hand he was so generous that he gave millions to them after the sale of the Maybelline Company in December of 1967