Dick Smith, the patriarch of makeup effects in motion pictures, died on July 30, 2014, at age 92.
Smith’s work was legendary. His work spans the decades, and includes such creations as Linda Blair’s possessed form in The Exorcist, aging Marlon Brando into Don Corleone in The Godfather, and F. Murray Abraham into a wizened Antonio Salieri in Amadeus. Smith began his career in 1945 as head of the NBC-TV makeup department in New York between 1945 and 1959, and personally applied all the major makeups. It’s been Smith writing the definitive how-to books on makeup and makeup effects from the ’60s through the late ’80s. It was Smith who pioneered many of the makeup effects techniques used today, including the use of foam latex in makeup appliances, making possible the effects in hundreds of science fiction and fantasy films.
Smith was given an honorary Governor’s Academy Award in 2012 for his contribution to the field, which was presented by his protege, Rick Baker. Just this year, Smith received the Makeup Artists Lifetime Achievement Award at the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylist Guild Awards in January.
“Rarely have there been make-up artists with the legendary inventiveness, creativity and artistic excellence of Dick Smith,” Makeup Artists’ Guild President Sue Cabral-Ebert said of Smith. “Dick’s transparency and willingness to share the secrets of the craft have been the catalyst for young make-up artists all over the world to follow their imaginations and dreams.”
Smith is survived by wife Jocelyn De Rosa and two children.
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