The legendary Godfather of SFX Makeup, Oscar winner DICK SMITH, maker of monsters, has gone to that big phantasmagorical sideshow in the sky at 92.
Smith, long a legend in the field from monster mag reading fans to top tiered producers Smith’s wizardry knew no bounds.
Among his fabled creation were Linda Blair’s horrific visage in “THE EXORCIST”, an aged Marlon Brando’s stuffed cheek machismo as “The GODFATHER” and a hundred plus year-old Dustin Hoffman in "Little Big Man", Robert DeNiro’s trail of carnage laden corpses in “TAXI DRIVER” and the senses-shattering "ALTERED STATES".
Born in June 1922, Smith began his career in television as head of the New York NBC make-up department in 1945.
Smith pioneered the technique of creating elaborating makeups by using pieces of molded latex and building the amazing transformations one appliance at a time
Smith shocked and awed viewers on Roald Dahl’s creepy anthology show “Way Out” to the TV and perfected the makeup on both TV and film incarnations of spook show “Dark Shadows” featuring a centuries old Barnabas Collins, werewolves and more creatures of the night.
Smith also worked on "Marathon Man", "The Deer Hunter" and "Amadeus", where he transformed the then 44 year-old F. Murray Abraham into a 73 year-old Antonio Salieri. Together with Paul LeBlanc, Smith won the 1984 Academy Award for Best Makeup, while Abraham also won Best Actor.
In 1965, Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook was first published through Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. The handbook contained “instructions for transforming your face into 15 monsters using makeup and other materials!”
Smith also offered training and courses on movie makeup, passing on his pioneering techniques to new generations of artists.
Smith garnered an Emmy for transforming a 42 year old Hal Holbrook into a 70 year old Mark Twain for his Hallmark one man show "MarkTwain Tonight!" in 1967.
In 2011, he received an Honorary Academy Award.
"This has been an incredible joy… I have loved being a makeup artist so much, but this kind of puts a crown on all of that," Smith said accepting the Oscar.
Next gen master of makeup wizardy Rick Baker mourned, "There’s never going to be another Dick Smith. Dick is, without a doubt, the greatest makeup artist who’s ever going to live."