Madame Tussauds New York

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Madame Tussauds New York (UK /təˈsɔːdz/, US /tuːˈsoʊz/; the family themselves pronounce it /ˈtuːsoʊ/) is a tourist attraction located on 42nd Street close to Times Square in New York City. Madame Tussauds was founded by the wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud, and is now operated by the United Kingdom-based entertainment company, Merlin Entertainments. The Madame Tussauds New York location opened in November 2000 with five floors of attraction space and over 100 figures; it has quickly become a popular destination in New York City.



Marie Tussaud was born as Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her mother worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius in Bern, Switzerland, who was a physician skilled in wax modelling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling.

In 1777, Tussaud created her first wax sculpture of Voltaire and soon after began sculpting death masks of notable victims in the French Revolution. These masks were then held up as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris. In 1794, Marie's mentor, Dr. Phillipe Curtius, died and Tussaud inherited his entire collection.

Marie married Francois Tussaud in 1795 lent a new name to the show: Madame Tussaud's. By 1835 Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London, and opened a museum, Madame Tussaud's. This part of the exhibition included victims of the French Revolution and newly created figures of murderers and other criminals. Several famous people were added to the exhibition, including Lord Nelson, and Sir Walter Scott. Some of the sculptures done by Marie Tussaud herself still exist. The gallery originally contained some 400 different figures, but fire damage in 1925, coupled with German bombs in 1941, has rendered most of these older models defunct. The casts themselves have survived allowing the historical waxworks to be remade. These can be seen in the museum's history exhibit. The oldest figure on display is that of Madame du Barry, otherwise known as "sleeping beauty," and this figure is located at Madame Tussauds London. In 1842, Tussaud made a self-portrait which is now on display at several Madame Tussauds locations. On 15 April 1850, Madame Tussaud died in her sleep.

In 1883, the restricted space and rising cost of the Baker Street site prompted Marie Tussaud's grandson, Joseph Randall, to commission the building at its current location on Marylebone Road. The new exhibition galleries were opened on 14 July 1884 and were a great success. A limited company was formed in 1888 to attract fresh capital but had to be dissolved after disagreements between the family shareholders. In February 1889, The Tussaud's group was sold to a group of businessmen led by Edwin Josiah Poyse.

Current status[edit]

The museums, known as "Madame Tussauds", are currently owned by Merlin Entertainments after the acquisition of The Tussauds Group in May 2007. Since the acquisition, Madame Tussaud's wax museum has grown into a major tourist attraction. Madame Tussauds has expanded and will expand with branches in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Blackpool, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New York City, Orlando, Prague, San Francisco, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Vienna, Washington, D.C., Wuhan, Tokyo and a temporary museum in Busan (Korea). Today's wax figures at Madame Tussauds range from historical and royal figures to film stars and famous musicians.

In 2000, Madame Tussauds arrived to the United States and opened its first attraction in Las Vegas, Nevada. The attraction received such great responses that in 2000, Madame Tussauds opened its doors in New York City's Times Square location.

Since opening its doors in 2000, Madame Tussauds New York has quickly become one of the most popular Madame Tussauds locations in the world. With new figure launches every couple of months and over 200 figures, Madame Tussauds New York Is one of the largest locations in the United States.

How wax figures are made[edit]

The figure making process for Madame Tussauds is about four months long and each figure costs about $300,000 to produce start to finish. The process begins with a sitting with the subject to decide on the figure's pose, outfit, hair, and makeup. After these details are agreed upon, the studio artists from Madame Tussauds take over 250 precise measurements and photographs of the subject. Once all of the measurements have been recorded, the studio artists begin crafting the figures. They start by creating a metal armature that serves as a skeleton for the figure. This skeleton is then cast in fiber glass to create the body. While the body is made, the figure's head is carefully sculpted out of clay and a variety of tools until a perfect likeness is achieved. After the clay has dried, a plaster mold is made of the head and cut into thirteen pieces that allows the artists to remove the mold and put it back together. Once this is completed, the wax is melted down and poured into the mold, creating the figure's head. Then, the teeth and eyes are fitted and each piece of hair is inserted individually. The process of hair insertion takes about two weeks to complete. Once this is finished, Madame Tussauds' artists cut and style the hair and apply the figure's makeup using several shades of oil based paints to build the exact colors and tones. Once these steps are finalized, the figure can then be dressed and accessorized.

Recent figure launches[edit]

Lionel Messi[edit]

In May 2015, Madame Tussauds New York officially unveiled the wax figure of soccer icon and star forward for FC Barcelona Lionel Messi. The dynamic wax figure features Lionel Messi mid-kick as he prepares to score a goal. The figure is wearing his recognizable #10 team Argentina jersey, as he wore it during the 2014 FIFA World Cup games in Brazil. Studio artists from Madame Tussauds worked for 4 months to create his figure, calculating over 250 measurements from photo and video references of the athlete in order to perfectly recreate his appearance and capture his on-the-field intensity. His figure is located in the all-new Sports Zone at Madame Tussauds New York and is part of an interactive soccer simulator where visitors can practice their best Messi kick in a virtual soccer arena.

Ed Sheeran[edit]

On May 28, 2015, Madame Tussauds announced the unveiling of award-winning singer-songwriter, Ed Sheeran. The unveiling event, featuring Sheeran himself, took place at Madame Tussauds New York in Times Square and his figure currently resides in the recently renovated Music Experience room. Sheeran worked closely with the Madame Tussauds team who spent hours sitting with the star taking over 250 measurements, identifying exact eye color, and detailing each strand of hair. The figure, which is the first time the star has been immortalized in wax by Madame Tussauds, features every intricate detail, including each of his colorful tattoos and a few childhood scars. He generously donated the figure's attire and a Martin & Co. guitar and guitar strap.

Pharrell Williams[edit]

In April 2015, Madame Tussauds New York announced that Pharrell Williams, the seven-time Grammy Award-winning artist, would be unveiled. Madame Tussauds studio artists referenced countless photographs and videos of Pharrell over the course of four months to ensure his figure was exceptionally accurate. Studio artists recreated Pharrell's iconic look from the 2014 Grammy Awards which features his signature ‘Mountain Hat' donated by Vivienne Westwood herself and the actual red leather jacket in which he performed in during the show. His jewelry was supplied by Hoorsenbuhs Jewelry and designed by Damien Hirst. In addition, a replica of New York's Pharrell figure made its debut in Orlando at the newest Madame Tussauds attraction.

Jimmy Fallon[edit]

In March 2015, Madame Tussauds announced that Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC's The Tonight Show, would be the newest addition to its New York attraction for a special launch of five brand new, never-before-seen wax figures of the television host. The event took place at Madame Tussauds New York in Times Square and marked Fallon's one year anniversary behind The Tonight Show desk. For the first time in history Madame Tussauds unveiled not one, but five, unique wax figures of a single celebrity. Fallon's figures reside in Madame Tussauds U.S. locations spanning the country: New York, Washington DC, Hollywood and San Francisco. His fifth figure is featured in the newest Madame Tussauds U.S. location in Orlando in May 2015.


The high-flying figure of the legendary singer, Pink, was installed on June 25, 2015 and is on prominent display, soaring mid-air at 25 feet on silk ropes in the Madame Tussauds New York lobby. The completion of the newly redesigned lobby marked the continuation of Madame Tussauds' investment in their Times Square location. Pink's figure, which was meticulously created from research by Madame Tussauds' Studio Artists over the course of many months, features the singer on aerial ropes reminiscent of her 2014 tour acrobatics. The ropes are the made of 100% silk and are the same as those used by actual aerial gymnasts. Her dynamic figure will feature a long sleeved, sheer black lace leotard, Pink's classic rocker hairstyle and all of her many tattoos.

Adriana Lima[edit]

In October 2015, Madame Tussauds announced that Brazilian model Adriana Lima, will be the newest addition to its New York attraction. She's the first Victoria's Secret Angel and the second Brazilian figure to join the Tussauds star lineup after soccer star Pelé.

Notable figures[edit]

A list of some of the notable figures:[1]

Actors Musicians Athletes Leaders Icons Characters Television Fashion
Jennifer Aniston Pharrell Williams Carmelo Anthony Barack Obama Albert Einstein E.T. Jimmy Fallon Adriana Lima
Leonardo DiCaprio Selena Gomez Lionel Messi Ronald Reagan Marilyn Monroe Iron Man Michael Strahan Sofía Vergara
Robert Pattinson Rihanna Muhammad Ali Abraham Lincoln Charlie Chaplin Spider-Man Jon Hamm
Angelina Jolie Katy Perry Eli Manning John F. Kennedy Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy The incredible Hulk Anderson Cooper
Whoopi Goldberg Taylor Swift Derek Jeter Mahatma Gandhi James Dean King Kong Tyra Banks
Julia Roberts Ed Sheeran David Wright Martin Luther King Jr. Dalai Lama Nick Fury

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graphico. "Famous Wax Figures and icons – Madame Tussauds New York".

External links[edit]