ISBN: 978-0-9843081-1-8
6 x 9, 415 pages

Mabel Williams–for whom Maybelline cosmetics was named–in 1926

Arnold Anderson,
Debbie Reynolds
and Tom Lyle in 1950

THE MAYBELLINE STORY—and the Spirited Family Dynasty Behind It

“A woman’s most powerful possession is a man’s imagination.”Maybelline Ad, 1934


In 1915, when a kitchen stove fire singed his sister Mabel’s lashes and brows, Tom Lyle Williams watched in fascination as she performed a “secret of the harem”—mixing petroleum jelly with coal dust and ash from a burnt cork and apply it to her lashes and brows. Mabel’s simple beauty trick ignited Tom Lyle’s imagination and he started what would become a billion-dollar business, one that remains a viable American icon after nearly a century. He named it Maybelline in her honor.

Throughout the 20th century, the Maybelline Company inflated, collapsed, endured, and thrived in tandem with the nation’s upheavals—as did the family that nurtured it. Setting up shop first in Chicago, Williams later, to avoid unwanted scrutiny of his private life, cloistered himself behind the gates of his Rudolph Valentino Villa and ran his empire from a distance. Now after nearly a century of silence, this true story celebrates the life of an American entrepreneur, a man whose vision rocketed him to success along with the woman held in his orbit, Evelyn Boecher—who became his lifelong fascination and muse.

Captivated by her “roaring charisma,” he affectionately called her the “real Miss Maybelline” and based many of his advertising campaigns on the woman she represented: commandingly beautiful, hard-boiled and daring. Evelyn masterminded a life of vanity, but would fall prey to fortune hunters and a mysterious murder that even today remains unsolved. A fascinating and inspiring story of ambition, luck, secrecy—and surprisingly, above all, love and forgiveness, a tale both epic and intimate, alive with the clash, the hustle, the music, and dance of American enterprise.


A richly told story of a forty-year, white-hot love triangle that fans the flames of a major worldwide conglomerate. Neil Shulman, Writer / Producer, Doc Hollywood

This book is classic literary satisfaction, a real page-turner. —Nina Siemaszko, actress, The West Wing

A highly entertaining and salacious story about the rich and privileged who against all odds build an empire. If you are a fan of scandal and glamour starting at the turn of the 20th century all the way to the present, you'll love this book.—Los Angeles Review News

Engrossing! —New York Post

There are certain stories, so dramatic, so sordid, that they seem positively destined for film; this is one of them. A new, thoroughly engrossing tome. —Style.com

Splendid!—Harper's Bazaar En Espanol

Superb! An exciting tale that gives an insider’s view into the genesis of a corporate giant. A wild ride, an enticing saga. —Alan Andrews Ragland, son of Maybelline legend “Rags” Ragland


Tom Lyle and friends at his Villa Valentino home in 1945 World War II War Bonds ads