Dick Smith (make-up artist)
June 26, 1922 |
Larchmont, New York, USA
|Spouse(s)||Jocelyn De Rosa (January 10, 1944-2003)|
Richard Emerson "Dick" Smith (born June 26, 1922) is an American make-up artist (nicknamed "The Godfather of Make-Up") known for his work on such films as Little Big Man, The Godfather, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver, and Scanners. He won a 1985 Academy Award for Makeup for his work on Amadeus and a 2012 Honorary Academy Award for his career's work.
Early life 
Smith was born in Larchmont, New York, the son of Coral (née Brown) and Richard Roy Smith. He attended the Wooster School and Yale University, the latter where he studied pre-med, with the intention of entering dentistry. After reading a book on Hollywood make-up techniques, he began administering make-up for the Yale drama group.
Smith entered the field full-time after graduation. He was NBC's first makeup director, serving for fourteen years, pioneering in the development of latex and plastics used in quick-change applications.
Smith pioneered the method of applying prosthetics made from foam latex in small pieces as opposed to the standard of applying a latex mask as one solid piece. Smith's technique allowed the actor to have a wide range of facial expressions, making the makeup appear more natural. Despite initial criticism from many professional makeup artists at the time, Smith's makeup techniques proved to be superior. Today, the standard methods of applying prosthetics are those that Smith invented.
Early work by Smith was seen on a short-lived syndicated supernatural Twilight Zone clone TV show produced by David Susskind out of New York in 1961 called Way Out, hosted by Roald Dahl. Most memorable was a make-up of a man who had half of his face suddenly erased by a spilled vial of photo retouching fluid that affected real people when merely applied to their photos. In another Way Out episode, a Hunchback of Notre Dame make-up created by Smith becomes permanently affixed to an evil actor who then became his character and could never remove his make-up. Smith contributed to 14 other memorable Way Out episodes, and other 60's television shows as well, such as several episodes of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, when he aged actor Jonathan Frid's character to appear over 175 years old for one storyline.
In the early-mid 60s, Smith published an instructional book, entitled Dick Smith's Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook, a special edition of Forrest J. Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine series.
Smith was also one of the early pioneers of combining make-up with on-set 'practical' special effects, starting with The Exorcist in 1973. Though many of Smith's make-up effects were so well conceived as to go undetected, Smith's expertise gained prominence and acclaim through the variety and ingenuity of his many effects for The Exorcist.
To create an aged Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Smith used a dental device called a "plumper" to droop the actor's jowls. The transformation was so real that Brando could eat at local restaurants around the set of the film without being recognized. For the 1985 film Amadeus, for which Smith won an Academy Award for Makeup, he transformed lead actor F. Murray Abraham from a young into an elderly man.
- "Dick Smith Biography (1922-)". Film Reference. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
- Nick Thomas (November 25, 2007). "Dick Smith, the Guy Who Changed the Face of Film". The Washington Post.
- Fowler Brandi; Marquina , Sierra (November 13, 2011). "Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, & Dick Smith Receive Honorary Academy Awards" E! Online.
- Dick Smith at the Internet Movie Database
- Dick Smith's website
- Dick Smith Legends of Makeup Scholarship at Cinema Makeup School