LA Times, Variety

Man Once Called ‘The Greatest Makeup Artist Who Ever Lived’ Dies at 92. He Started in TV Before Moving On to Movies

Jul 31, 2014  •  Post A Comment

He was a makeup artist “whose career began in the early days of television and spanned six decades,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

The story says, “As the grandmaster of special-effects makeup, Dick Smith broke ground in the movies in the early 1970s when he transformed Dustin Hoffman into a 120-year-old for ‘Little Big Man’ and an adolescent Linda Blair into a diabolical demon in ‘The Exorcist.’

“When he received an Academy Award in 1985 for aging F. Murray Abraham into an elderly composer in the film ‘Amadeus,’ many industry observers wondered: What took so long?”

“Smith’s protege, Rick Baker, tweeted of the legend’s passing on Thursday morning,” according to Variety. Smith was 92.

Says the Times obituary, “Baker saluted his mentor as ‘the greatest makeup artist who ever lived’ when Smith received an honorary Oscar in 2011 in recognition of his pioneering role in the industry.

Variety’s story adds, “Beginning his career as the makeup director for NBC in 1945, Smith pioneered a number of techniques that have since become industry staples, including the use of liquid foam latex to fabricate detailed elements that allow actors more range of motion than a simple mask. In addition to Baker, some of Smith’s other notable students include Richard Taylor, Greg Cannom, Alec Gillis, Ve Neill, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Mike Elizalde and Todd Masters.

“Masters, founder of film & TV special FX and makeup house MastersFX, said of Smith, ‘Dick Smith was a friend to all artists, never turning away anyone that phoned him (no matter what time), and he always replied to every letter. I have no idea how he kept in touch with all of us while making some of the most iconic characters in cinema history. Time and time again his keen eye and smooth skills would educate us. … I personally can say his lessons were the best education I ever received … and he was one of my favorite friends.’”

To learn a lot more about Smith and his extraordinary career, we urge you to click on the links above and read both the Times and Variety obituaries in full.

Dick Smith.jpg

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)