Karen Reuter was a make-up artist on “Orange Is the New Black.” She passed away on January 24, 2019, two days after her 62nd birthday, following a battle with cancer.
The final season episode of “OITNB,” “The Big House,” was dedicated to her memory.
According to Reuter’s IMDb page, she worked on “OITNB” for the Netflix’s show’s first three seasons. After that, Reuter assumed the role of make-up department head on the show.
Reuter was survived by her husband, Steven Kozlowski, and her four children. Her obituary said that Reuter passed away at her home, surrounded by her family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kate Mulgrew Paid Tribute to Karen Reuter Calling Her ‘Warm,’ ‘Kind’ & ‘Brave’
Kate Mulgrew, who plays the role of Galina “Red” Reznikov on the show, paid tribute to Reuter in a February 2019 in a tweet that read, “Galina “Red” ReznikovMy makeup artist on OITNB, Karen Reuter, passed away last week. Farewell to a warm-eyed woman wearing low-slung dungarees and a wry smile at 6am, whose work ethic was surpassed only by her bravery, which she revealed through laughter, kindness, and a turning away from self.”
2. Reuter Said in 2014 ‘Orange Is the New Black’ Gave Her More Room for Creativity as a Make-Up Artist</h2.
In 2014, when "Orange Is the New Black" launched on Netflix, Reuter told Variety that streaming services allowed more room for creativity for make-up artists. Reuter said, “Certain networks don’t want to see any tattoos at all on anyone and in a day and age where there are a lot of tattoos, we have to hide them.”
Reuter added that because of the nature of binge-watching, she and her team had to pay closer attention to continuity. Her belief was that bing watchers would notice a mistake faster than a week-to-week viewer would.
Reuter went on to tell Variety, “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve never worked on a show that was so female-heavy. And that’s something that happened because of Netflix’s vision. … These aren’t Victoria’s Secret models running around in prison uniforms. These are women who are different sizes and different shapes and different backgrounds and different colors.”
3. Reuter Previously Worked on ‘The Sopranos’ & Co-Authored a Book on the History of Lipstick
Reuter had a long and decorated career as a make-up artist in Hollywood. Reuter lists, “The Sopranos,” “Project Runway,” as well as the movies, “Step Up 3D” and “28 Days,” among her credits. Reuter began her career as the co-key make-up artist on the kids show, “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”
Reuter worked on the show for four years between 1986 and 1990. In 1998, Reuter was listed as one of the co-authors of the book, “Read My Lips: A Cultural History of Lipstick.” It is noted in the book that there is an ancient Egyptian papyrus that shows a woman applying lipstick.
Reuter was a member of the Make-Up & Hair Local 798 in New York. Most recently, Reuter had worked on the Amazon Prime series “Rise” as Make-up department head.
In 2015, Reuter was nominated, alongside Michal Biggar, for the TV and New Media Series Contemporary Make-Up award by the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards. Reuter showed off much of her fabulous work on her Instagram page, “KarenReuterMakeUp711.”
A GoFundMe page for Reuter’s memory has raised more than $10,000. The page is titled, “Karen Reuter Cancer Fund.”
4. Reuter Was Married Less Than 18 Months Before Her Tragic Passing
According to a post on Reuter’s Facebook page, she was married on September 2, 2017, less than 18 months before her tragic passing.
Reuter’s obituary says that she shared five years with Kozlowski. The tribute reads, “Karen was the loving wife of Steven Kozlowski with whom she had shared 5 amazing years of life and love.”
Reuter wrote in the caption for the photo, “Sept 2 2017. Next to becoming a mom , this was the best day ever !!” Reuter lists four children on her Facebook page, two sons and two daughters. One of her daughters, Eden, also works as a hair stylist.
5. Reuter Was a Volunteer at a Local Church & Lent Her Make-Up Skills to Local High School Productions
On her Facebook page, Reuter says that she graduated from Passaic Valley Regional High School in Little Falls, New Jersey, in 1975. Reuter adds that she is a volunteer at the Liquid Church in Nutley, New Jersey. Reuter is a native of Little Falls, at the time of her sad death, Reuter had been living in South Orange, New Jersey.
Reuter’s religion is mentioned in her obituary in a section that reads, “Karen had an unwavering passion for Jesus which she was quick to share with others. As the Spiritual Care Volunteer Leader at Liquid Church- Essex county (Nutley), she used her God given gifts of unconditional love to care for the individual and group needs of her Liquid Church family. Her caring did not end on Sunday mornings but extended into Sunday evenings as she graciously hosted and lead her local church Life Group.”
In January 2011, Reuter lent her make-up talents to Columbia High School, in South Orange’s, production of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Reuter writes as her favorite quote, “The definitions of faith and fear r the same. The anticipation that something will happen before it occurs.”