Photo: Netflix

About Karen Elizabeth Reuter
Age62 Years
BirthJanuary 22, 1957 Little Falls, New Jersey
DeathJanuary 24, 2019 South Orange, New Jersey
SpouseSteven Kozlowski September 2017 - January 2019
ChildrenSimone, Damon, Eden, Anton
SiblingsSue Reuter
ParentsRobert Richard Reuter, Rose Mary Reuter
JobMake-up Artist
AlumniPassaic Valley Regional High School
BookRead My Lips: A Cultural History of Lipstick

Orange Is the New Black dedicated the penultimate episode of the final season, titled “The Big House,” to one Karen Reuter. OITNB superfans might find the name familiar, having seen it a few times. But many probably can’t put a face on that name, and a few are asking, who was Karen Reuter? She was not an actor on the show; however, she was a beloved crew member who passed away while the final season was filming. Reuter was responsible for our favorite characters’ jail looks and special-effects wounds. She passed away in January 2019, before filming wrapped, and the cast and crew were deeply saddened to lose a dear colleague and friend. Our Karen Reuter wiki pays tribute to this wonderful member of the OITNB family.

Karen Reuter Passed Away of Cancer

Karen Elizabeth Reuter was born on January 22, 1957 to Robert Richard Reuter and Rose Mary Reuter in Little Falls, New Jersey. She passed away on January 24, 2019, only two days after her 62nd birthday.

According to her obituary, Reuter passed away at home in South Orange, New Jersey with her husband and children by her side. She is survived by her husband of five years, Steven Kozlowski, and her four children from a previous relationship—Eden, Anton, Damon, and Simone.

Me and my love black tie-n it.

Posted by Karen Reuter on Monday, February 16, 2015

She is also survived by her sister, Sue Reuter, as well as her three step-children from Kozlowski’s previous relationship.

A GoFundMe page was set up by an associate of Reuter to aid her medical expenses. Through this fundraiser, we learned that Reuter had been battling cancer. The page raised over $10,000 before it was deactivated.

Orange Is the New Black’s final season was filming at the time of her death. The OITNB actors paid tribute to Reuter back then with social media posts.

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Reuter Was a Makeup Artist on OITNB

Watching horror movies as a child sparked a passion for makeup artistry in Karen Reuter. After graduating from Passaic Valley Regional High School in 1975, she ventured into the film and television industry as a makeup artist associated with the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) local 798 in New York.

Some of her biggest credits included Saturday Night Live, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, The Sopranos, Project Runway, The Big Gay Sketch Show, The Beautiful LIfe, Step Up 3D, The Greatest Showman, and Mercy. Her last known credit was an episode of Rise in 2018.

Reuter had been part of the OITNB crew since 2013. She was the key makeup artist for the first three seasons and had later assumed the role of makeup department head on the show.

Her work on OITNB earned her a nomination for a Best Contemporary Makeup Award at the Artists & Hairstylists Guild.

Her expertise in this industry was clearly remarkable. In fact, she’s a co-author on a 1998 book, Read My Lips: A Cultural History of Lipstick.

Reuter Had Married in 2017

The makeup artist raised four children with her ex, but would later find love again. She was with Steven Kozlowski at the time of her death; they’d gotten engaged on September 3, 2016.

Got engaged to Steven Kozlowski. 9-3-16.

Posted by Karen Reuter on Thursday, September 8, 2016

They married a year later on September 2, 2017. On Facebook, she called her wedding the “best day” ever, second to becoming a mom.

Sept 2 2017. Next to becoming a mom , this was the best day ever !!

Posted by Karen Reuter on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Reuter passed away less than two years after her wedding day. Her obituary states she spent five “amazing” years with her husband.

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