Rick Baker (makeup artist)

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Rick Baker
Rick Baker February 2015 (cropped).jpg
Baker in February 2015
Born (1950-12-08) December 8, 1950 (age 65)
Binghamton, New York
Nationality American
Alma mater Academy of Art University
Occupation Special make-up effects artist
Years active 1971–2014
  • Elaine Baker (m. 1974–84)
  • Silvia Abascal (m. 1987)

Richard A. "Rick" Baker (born December 8, 1950)[1] is an American special make-up effects creator known for his creature effects.

Personal life[edit]

Baker was born in Binghamton, New York to Doris (née Hamlin) and Ralph B. Baker, a professional artist.[1] He is married and has two daughters.


As a teen, Baker began creating artificial body parts in his own kitchen.[citation needed] He also appeared briefly[citation needed] 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.[2]

Baker received the inaugural Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for his work on An American Werewolf in London.[3] He also created the "werecat" creature Michael Jackson transforms into in the music video Thriller.[citation needed] Subsequently, Baker has been nominated for the Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar ten more times, winning on seven occasions, both records in his field.[4]

He was married to Elaine Melba Parkyn for ten years. Her sole acting appearance was as the Emperor whom Vader consults in the original version of The Empire Strikes Back. Elaine wore a mask and hooded robe for the role and her eyes were visually replaced with those of a chimpanzee, while her voice was dubbed over by Clive Revill. All subsequent versions since the DVD release replace her image and Revill's voice with Ian McDiarmid reprising his role from Return of the Jedi and the prequel trilogy.

Baker at the 2011 Saturn Awards

Baker claims that his work on Harry and the Hendersons is one of his proudest achievements.[5] On October 3, 2009, he received the Jack Pierce – Lifetime Achievement Award title of the Chiller-Eyegore Awards.[6]

He was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Academy of Art University San Francisco in 2008.[7] He also contributes commentaries to the web series Trailers From Hell[8] for trailers about horror and science fiction films.[citation needed]

Baker received the 2485th star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 30, 2012. The star is located in front of the Guinness World Records Museum.[9]

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."[10][11][12]

Acting roles[edit]

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;[citation needed] and in The Wolfman as the Wolfman's first kill.[13]



See also[edit]


External links[edit]