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Baker in February 2015
December 8, 1950|
Binghamton, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Academy of Art University|
|Occupation||Special make-up effects artist|
Richard A. Baker (born December 8, 1950) is a retired American special make-up effects creator, mostly known for his creature effects and designs. Baker won the Academy Award for Best Makeup a record seven times from a record eleven nominations, beginning when he won the inaugural award for An American Werewolf in London (1981).
As a teen, Baker began creating artificial body parts in his own kitchen. He also appeared briefly in the fan production The Night Turkey, a one-hour, black-and-white video parody of The Night Stalker directed by William Malone. Baker's first professional job was as an assistant to prosthetic makeup effects veteran Dick Smith on the film The Exorcist.
Baker received the inaugural Academy Award for Best Makeup for his work on An American Werewolf in London. He also created the "werecat" creature Michael Jackson transforms into in the music video Thriller. Subsequently, Baker has been nominated for the Best Makeup Oscar ten more times, winning on seven occasions, both records in his field.
He was married to Elaine Melba Parkyn for ten years.
Baker claims that his work on Harry and the Hendersons is one of his proudest achievements. On October 3, 2009, he received the Jack Pierce – Lifetime Achievement Award title of the Chiller-Eyegore Awards.
He was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Academy of Art University San Francisco in 2008. He also contributes commentaries to the web series Trailers from Hell for trailers about horror and science fiction films.
Baker announced his retirement on May 28, 2015: "First of all, the CG stuff definitely took away the animatronics part of what I do. It's also starting to take away the makeup part. The time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now. I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast. That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out. I would consider designing and consulting on something, but I don’t think I will have a huge working studio anymore."
Baker played the title role in the 1976 remake of King Kong. In the 2005 remake, he had a cameo as the pilot and gunner (with director Peter Jackson) who shot down Kong. He also made cameo appearances in: the John Landis film Into the Night as a drug dealer with a business card; in Men in Black II as an MIB agent helping provide aliens with disguises; in Men in Black 3 as a "brain alien"; in Michael Jackson's music video Thriller as one of the zombies; in The Haunted Mansion as multiple graveyard ghosts; in The Wolfman as the Wolfman's first kill; and in Rings as a flea market vendor.
- Octaman (1971) (Octaman costume; with Doug Beswick)
- The Thing with Two Heads (1972) (special effects)
- Schlock (1973) (makeup artist)
- The Exorcist (1973) (special effects assistant)
- It's Alive (1974) (makeup artist)
- The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) (makeup artist)
- King Kong (1976) (makeup effects, actor)
- Track of the Moon Beast (1976) (makeup artist)
- Squirm (1976) (makeup designer)
- The Incredible Melting Man (1977) (special makeup effects)
- Star Wars (1977) (makeup artist: second unit)
- The Fury (1978) (special makeup effects)
- An American Werewolf in London (1981) (special makeup effects)
- The Howling (1981) (special makeup effects consultant)
- The Funhouse (1981) (special makeup design)
- The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981) (makeup effects)
- Videodrome (1983) (special makeup effects designer)
- Thriller (1983) (special makeup effects creator, special makeup effects design)
- Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) (special makeup effects)
- Starman (1984) (Starman transformation)
- Into the Night (1985) (actor)
- My Science Project (1985) (special makeup effects artist)
- Captain EO (1986) (special makeup effects)
- Ratboy (1986) (designer: Ratboy)
- Harry and the Hendersons (1987) (makeup artist, creature designer: Harry)
- Beauty and the Beast (1987–89) (creature designer: Beast)
- Werewolf (1987–88) (special makeup effects artist)
- Coming to America (1988) (special makeup effects)
- Gorillas in the Mist (1988) (special makeup effects, associate producer)
- Missing Link (1988) (special makeup effects)
- Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) (special effects supervisor, co-producer)
- The Rocketeer (1991) (makeup creator: Lothar)
- Wolf (1994) (special makeup effects)
- Ed Wood (1994) (makeup creator: Bela Lugosi, makeup designer: Bela Lugosi)
- Batman Forever (1995) (special makeup designer/creator)
- The Nutty Professor (1996) (special makeup effects)
- The Frighteners (1996) (special makeup artist: The Judge)
- Escape from L.A. (1996) (special makeup effects)
- Ghosts (1997) (special makeup effects artist)
- Men in Black (1997) (alien makeup effects, special makeup effects artist)
- Critical Care (1997) (special makeup effects: Mr. Brooks)
- Mighty Joe Young (1998) (special makeup effects)
- Psycho (1998) (Mrs. Bates design)
- Life (1999) (special makeup effects)
- Wild Wild West (1999) (special effects makeup)
- Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) (special makeup effects)
- Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000) (special makeup effects)
- Planet of the Apes (2001) (makeup artist, special makeup effects designer/creator)
- Men in Black II (2002) (alien makeup effects, special makeup effects artist)
- The Ring (2002) (special makeup effects artist)
- The Haunted Mansion (2003) (special makeup effects artist)
- Hellboy (2004) (special effects director, special makeup effects artist)
- The Ring Two (2005) (special makeup effects artist)
- King Kong (2005) (actor)
- Cursed (2005) (special makeup effects artist, special makeup effects designer/creator)
- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) (special makeup effects consultant, visual effects consultant)
- Click (2006) (special age makeup artist, special makeup effects artist)
- Enchanted (2007) (special makeup effects artist)
- Norbit (2007) (special makeup effects artist)
- Tropic Thunder (2008) (makeup designer: Mr. Downey Jr.)
- The Wolfman (2010) (special makeup effects)
- Tron: Legacy (2010) (special makeup effects artist)
- Men in Black 3 (2012) (alien makeup effects, special makeup effects artist)
- Maleficent (2014) (Maleficent makeup design)
- Rings (2017) (actor)
- Inducted to the Monster Kid Hall of Fame at the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards
- Jack Pierce – Lifetime Achievement Award at the Chiller-Eyegore Awards
- 2485th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup
- Academy Award for Best Makeup
- Time Machine Award, Sitges Film Festival 2015
- "Rick Baker Biography (1950-)".
- "Rick Baker". Oscars.org. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Barnes, Mike (2009-08-04). "Makeup artist Howard J. Smit dies". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-08-12. Abstract only; full article requires subscription.
- "Rick Baker".
- Rebecca Murray. "Rick Baker on CGI, Changes in the Industry". About.com Entertainment.
- "Dread Central at the 2009 Chiller-Eyegore Awards and Halloween Horror Nights".
- "Academy of Art University to Preview NOVA's "Becoming Human" — Students Modeled Recreations of Neanderthal Physiology". academyart.edu. Academy of Art University. 25 October 2009.
- "Rick Baker | Gurus |". Trailersfromhell.com. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
- Baguio, Lindsey (14 November 2012). "Rick Baker to Receive Walk of Fame Star". hollywood.patch.com. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "Rick Baker, special effects and make-up designer for 'Thriller,' to retire and auction off his collection - EW.com". Entertainment Weekly's EW.com.
- "Make-Up Legend Rick Baker Retiring; Cites Lack of Good Work". Collider. 28 May 2015.
- "Rick Baker Retiring; The FX World Will Not Be the Same". Slashfilm.
- "Rick Baker - Actor Filmography", The Internet Movie Database, Retrieved May 3, 2017
- Scheib, Richard (n.d.). "Octaman". Moria.
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