Two from Ohio Valley are Emmy nominees

NEW MARTINSVILLE — Collaboration on an FX series has earned Emmy nominations for two men who grew up in the Northern Panhandle, both of whom have earned prior acclaim.

Makeup artist David Williams, who grew up in New Martinsville, has been nominated for his work on “The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.” He shares the honor for the same series with co-executive producer Chip Vucelich, who was raised in Moundsville.

While Williams received an Emmy for his work on“Feud: Bette and Joan,” “The Pacific” and “MadTV,” Vucelich received an Emmy and a Golden Globe award for his producing effort on “The People Vs. O.J. Simpson.”

Vucelich said he appreciates the change of pace he experiences coming home to visit.

“You can take long walks, there’s no jumbo jets flying overhead,” he said of Marshall County. “The air’s cleaner. Visually, it’s picturesque. It’s like night and day (compared to Hollywood). The pace is slower. I miss that.”

Williams left the Ohio Valley when he moved to Texas for college. While there, he met an agent who recruited him to be a model. He became the “face” of the Shoal Creek Hospital, which is a rehabilitation center. Williams had never been there, and the role earned him some strange looks at college parties, he said.

Williams said his theater experience from his youth led to him changing careers.

“I was a model myself, living in Seattle … and I was doing a modeling job, where they were short makeup artists, and I said, ‘Oh, for God’s sake, give me a brush, I grew up in the theater, I know how to do this,'” he said. “As I was doing this, the woman running the show saw me, and said, ‘You’re a makeup artist.’ … That’s just how it happened.”

Williams said he saw how others reacted to his work, and it became his passion.

“I was doing makeup for a lady in a mall, and when I finished up, she looked in the mirror and started to cry,” he said. “She said, ‘You made me look like a movie star, but more importantly, you made me feel like one. I want to go home and I want my husband to see that after eight years and four kids, I’m still the woman that he married.’ That was the moment where I decided, I can really make an impact on people with this.”

Vucelich left Marshall County and attended Florida State University. He graduated from there with a degree in communications. From there, he worked as an intern on a movie set before eventually moving west to work on more projects.

He served as producer on the first two seasons of “American Horror Story, The New Normal” and served as co-executive producer on “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

Williams was nominated for his first Emmy for makeup work on “MadTV” in 2003. He also won his first Emmy for “MadTV” in 2009. Williams has received three Makeup Guild nominations and, this year, a lifetime achievement Hollywood Tribute Award.

He said parents ask him how to encourage similar success in their kids. He said his advice is straightforward: Just encourage it.

“When parents talk to me about the opportunity their kids might have — do it,” Williams said. “You will learn more about yourself and create a greater sense of confidence than you can imagine when people take your picture. It’s kind of surprising.”

Vucelich said he found the key to success was persistence, even when a passion may occasionally prove to be more labor than love.

“You have to like what you’re doing,” he said. “There’s days you’ll hate it, it’ll all become a job. … The awards are all meaningless, in the broad schemes of life.”

The Emmy Awards will air at 8 p.m. on Sept. 17 on NBC.

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