Obituaries

Lynne Westmore Bloom, 81, painted the Pink Lady of Malibu Canyon

pink-lady-in-pink.jpgLynne Westmore Bloom, an artist who died Friday night at home in Encinitas, is best known for the work of guerrilla public art she created in 1966. Then known as Lynne Seemayer, she left her Northridge home one October night, drove to Malibu Canyon and suspended herself from ropes on the rock cliff over the tunnel mouth facing the coast. She worked by herself all night, and when the first drivers came up the canyon after dawn, they saw the painted image of a bright pink, huge and happily naked woman clutching flowers on the rocks.

Thus began a mystery that filled the TV news and perplexed Angelenos for several days that fall. Who could have painted the Pink Lady of Malibu Canyon? How could no one have noticed such a big art project happening? Crowds gathered to gawk at the Pink Lady and to oppose official efforts to either cover up the naked form or paint it over. Attempts to hose off the Pink Lady just made her more exuberantly pink.

lynne-seemayer-young.jpgWhen Lynne Seemayer came forward, she got fan letters, marriage proposals, derision from disbelievers and a bill from the county for the paint job that eventually covered the Pink Lady. She also became a legend in the world of Los Angeles street artists. The tunnel face was usually covered in graffiti, she said. It needed some prettifying so she beautified the rocks. For those of us who grew up in the LA area, the Pink Lady was never forgotten, and for at least a decade or more her outline could be glimpsed on the cliff above the Malibu tunnel in the right light. The Pink Lady of Malibu Canyon became a barely invisible landmark that LA natives still talk about.

Westmore Bloom died Friday night after an illness. At her side were husband, and her son the Los Angeles artist and filmmaker Stephen Seemayer. He and and his wife and film partner, Pam Wilson, produced the recent Arts District film chronicle "Young Turks," and they work to keep the Pink Lady alive at a Facebook page and in a prospective film project.

Last October, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of Lynne Seemayer's coup. LA Observed photographer Gary Leonard drove out to Malibu Canyon with Steven Seemayer to mark the occasion.

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On Facebook, Wilson and Seemayer have posted an announcement.

Lynne was the daughter of legendary Hollywood makeup artist Ern Westmore and silent movie star Ethlyne Clair. As a painter and sculptor, she showed at Los Angeles galleries over a three-decade career. She also did makeup and created special effects for independent films directed by her son, Stephen Seemayer. More recently, she founded Westmore Thoroughbreds with Bill Bloom, her husband of 37 years. She is also survived by her grandson, Zach Seemayer, and her great-grandson, Hunter. Lynne's youngest son, Jeff Seemayer, died in 2013.

Here's what I wrote for the 50th anniversary.

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More by Kevin Roderick:
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