The Life of John Downey

February 18th, 2009  ·  comments: 0

John and Irusha DowneyWelcome to the life of John Downey – American contemporary composer, conductor and musician. My father and beloved mother, Irusha, not only loved music and the Arts, but they also loved seeing our youth — not just getting an education, but actually understanding and embracing what they’ve been taught. If you’ve had the great fortune to spend time and create a memory with my parents, please share that moment for all to experience. Whether it was a meaningful concert, a memory surrounding a performance you attended or a piece you heard, or a special time spent with my parents, please tell us about it. Takes just a moment to convey your story, and from it, others will laugh and learn. If you never met my parents, please let this site serve as an introduction to their accomplishments and life contributions.

My parents were pillars of strength for so many. Their love for each other was unparalleled, romantic and true. And they knew how to celebrate life. I miss them dearly but thoughts of them bring a smile to me every day. Thank you for keeping their spirit alive.


Mrs. Irusha Downey Fashion Article, Chicago Sun Times March 27, 1959

February 18th, 2009  ·  comments: 0


Photo Caption: Mrs. Irene Downey, a Russian language instructor for WTTW, keeps her TV wardrobe simple. Gray tweed suit affords just the right contrast against dark blackboard. Her pearl jewelry does not reflect studio lights yet adds appropriate finishing touch to the costume. She comes across television screen particularly well.

So You’re Going On Television;
What to Know About Styles and Makeup

by Jean Krueger

You never know, these days, when you might be the lady looking smack into the open lens of a television camera.

More and more novices are being drawn into the TV world of contestants, campaigns and panels.  Few are prepared for their debut.

After the shock of learning she’s scheduled to “go on,” the immediate feminine reaction is “What will I wear?”  Well, there are some pretty firm rules of TV clothes conduct and they have to do with more than necklines.

The keynote is simplicity and the safest color is pastel.  The worst thing you can do is wear black or white or trimmed with the other.  Another TV cameraman’s nightmare — glittering jewelry.

We visited the studios of WTTW (Channel 11) the other day and talked with Robert Carolan, producer of the educational station’s college programs.  As such, Carolan comes in contact with the educators who teach all of the station’s college courses.  Often he has to do some educating himself, concerning the do’s and don’ts of television wardrobes.

In order to avoid “burn in” — the halo effect which outlines sharp color contrast — Carolan advises his amateur performers on clothes selection, jewelry and makeup.  Medium colors, eh says, show off best against light backgrounds, or vice versa.  There should be a contrast between performer and background, but not a sharp delineation of color.

Mrs. Irene Downey, a striking blonde who is a Russian language instructor for the station, illustrated Carolan’s point by the outfit she was wearing for her upcoming TV class. Her tweed suit had no pronounced coloring.  It was simply tailored, allowed ease of motion at the blackboard and did not distract from her role as a teacher.

She wore a single strand of pearls an matching earrings.  Jewelry or dress trim is the thing which often gives a technician trouble, according to Carolan.  Rhinestones and sequins pick up light and cause a glare which is
distracting to an audience and detracting from a performer.  Simple, dull finish jewelry is the safest “finishing touch” for television.

The art of TV makeup is usually a mystery to the lady who’s making her debut.  Pancake makeup is the best foundation because it gives a dull sheen to the skin.  Eyebrow pencil is recommended to accentuate pale eyebrows, but mascara is a television don’t.  Darkening of eyelashes causes the whole eye area to be shadowed.  Makeup men prefer to lighten the inner portion of the eye with foundation or powder.  A smooth unruffled hair style is more flattering than elaborate hats or hair ornaments.

The success of a television appearance may easily depend upon choice of costume, accessories and makeup.  The lady who’s at ease because she’s prepared for TV has the advantage of being able to concentrate on why she’s in front of the camera.

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