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Head & Face

Plastic EyesPlastic Eyes - If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, enter professional oculist Dr. O. Robert Levy, one of only 150 craftsmen in the world who designs and implants lifelike plastic eyeballs. His clientele, over 30,000 in his career, included the one and only (and I do mean this sincerely) Sammy Davis, Jr.

Dr. Levy, who received his B.S. degree from the Southern California College of Optometry in Fullerton, California, fashions plastic eyeballs made from Methyl Methacrylate, an acrylic also used in the manufacture of dentures.

His eyeballs, meticulously realistic down to the finest details, (i.e., veins and clear plastic sheets to simulate the cornea) can average $800‑$1000 an eyeball.

His theatrical work included making weird contact lenses for the 1950s sci-fi movie X-The Man with X-ray Eyes (1963) starring Ray Milland and designing the bugged-eyed peepers for the adorable little alien in the Steven Spielberg movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

TRIVIA NOTE: Peter Falk who played the role of a shabby by savvy detective on the crime drama COLUMBO had a fake eye in real life. At the age of three, Peter lost his right eye in surgery to a malignant tumor. He was self conscious about his handicap until he started to play baseball. Once, as the story goes, an umpire made a questionable call at a little league game and a very angry young Peter pulled his false eye from his head, handed it to the umpire and declared "Here you need this more than I do!"

Years later Peter's dark brown eye and the squint caused by his false right eye contributed to an air-of-menace and benevolent detachment that established his acting presence on such drama programs BOB HOPE PRESENTS THE CHRYSLER THEATRE/NBC/1963-67; THE DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK/NBC/1961-64; THE UNTOUCHABLES/ABC/1959-63 (Nate Selko, a thug); THE DICK POWELL SHOW/NBC/1961-63 (Outstanding single performance by an actor in a leading role in the "Price of Tomatoes").

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