Morton Greenspoon, OD, a Leader in Cosmetic Contact Lenses, Passes Away at 89

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Morton “Mort” Kenneth Greenspoon, OD
LOS ANGELES—Morton “Mort” Kenneth Greenspoon, OD, a pioneer in the use of cosmetic contact lenses, particularly among screen actors, passed away earlier this month, according to a Los Angeles Times news report. He was 89 years old. Born Jan. 13, 1929, Dr. Greenspoon was known as an “optometrist to the stars” and he was actively seeing patients in the practice he founded, Professional Vision Care Associates in Sherman Oaks, Calif., until recently. He saw patients the week before his death April 2, according to the obituary.

According to a 2017 story in the American Optometric Association AOA Focus, Dr. Greenspoon is “perhaps best known for another project: The contact lenses that completed Michael Jackson's transformation to a “cat monster” in the groundbreaking video, “Thriller,” which merged music and filmmaking.” Dr. Greenspoon told AOA Focus last year: “That project was the one that came as a big surprise. (Greenspoon described how he met the music legend in his office and fitted the yellow-hued, cat-eye, scleral acrylic plastic lenses that Jackson wore in the music video.) The pupils had to be vertical, and we had to make sure the lenses didn't rotate,” he explained to AOA Focus.

Dr. Greenspoon was a third-generation optometrist. His father, Reuben, was the first optometrist to fit contact lenses in California, according to the Professional Vision Care Associates’ website. The younger OD received his undergraduate training at The University of Southern California, and his doctorate from Southern California College of Optometry. In addition, he was a contact lens consultant to the major film studios and has been responsible for many of the creative eye effects seen on the big and small screen, according to biographical information on the practice’s website.

Dr. Greenspoon received Oscar and Emmy nominations for his work, and he also received a Diplomat in Cornea and Contact lenses from the American Academy of Optometry, and the Year 2000 Contact Lens Achievement Award. He received a movie credit for his work on “The Lost Boys in 1987,” and also worked on many movies and television shows, including “Broken Arrow” (Debra Paget, 1950), “The Ten Commandments” (1956), “Flaming Star” (Elvis Presley, 1960), “Camelot” (first mirrored contact lenses, 1967), “Wait Until Dark” (Audrey Hepburn, 1967), “Planet of the Apes” (1968), “Westworld” (Yul Brenner, 1973), “The Incredible Hulk” (Bill Bixby, 1977) and “The Exorcist” (1977), among others, according to the Los Angeles Times obituary.

Services were held April 4 at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.