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Overview for Dick Smith
Dick Smith

Dick Smith



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Also Known As: Richard Emerson Smith Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession: Make-Up ... special makeup effects designer


A legendary Hollywood makeup artist of film and TV since the 1940s, Smith is considered a pioneer in the design of aging makeup and an innovator in the field of special makeup effects. He utilized layers of latex called "old age stipple" to age Dustin Hoffman for "Little Big Man" (1970), Marlon Brando for "The Godfather" (1972), David Bowie for "The Hunger" (1983) and F Murray Abraham for "Amadeus" (1984). The latter won Smith a long overdue Oscar. He transformed Hal Holbrook into Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln for TV and reached new heights in on-screen goo with his work on Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" (1973). Smith also pushed the limits of the young art of special makeup effects with his work on the de-evolving form of William Hurt in Ken Russell's "Altered States" (1980).

Smith has stated that he was the very first makeup artist hired by NBC in 1945. Back then when radio ruled the airwaves, his office space was the bottom drawer of an assistant director's desk. By 1950 TV had arrived and Smith had advanced to department head with 20 full-time makeup artists working under his direction. He has told colorful tales of the rigors of aging actors for live TV dramas on the likes of "Philco TV Playhouse" and "Goodyear TV Playhouse" where every second counted. Smith continued to work in TV periodically through the 80s, garnering several Emmy nominations and winning one for "Mark Twain Tonight!" (CBS, 1967).

His subsequent films include "The World of Henry Orient" (1964), "Midnight Cowboy" (1969), "Taxi Driver" (1976), and "The Deer Hunter" (1978). The veteran makeup designer proved that he still had it with Robert Zemeckis' "Death Becomes Her" (1992), a darkly comic tale of dangerous beauty secrets.

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