Dick Smith has been hailed as one of the best makeup artists to ever live.Dick Smith, who transformed the art of creating special makeup effects for films, has reportedly died aged 92.The pioneer worked on dozens of films including The Godfather, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver and Amadeus.
His protege Rick Baker revealed the death on Twitter and said: “The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same.”
Smith started his career in television and became head of makeup at NBC in 1945 where he remained until 1959.
Working with Marlon Brando on The Godfather, Smith spent an hour-and-a-half before each scene adding jowls, age spots and grey hair to create the character Vito Corleone.
The Godfather Brando in the iconic film The Godfather
In 1973’s horror The Exorcist, Smith created the demonic makeup for possessed child Regan, played by Linda Blair, and fitted the vomit device for one of the film’s most famous scenes.
His use of latex and other techniques meant he was able to artfully age F Murray Abraham from his 40s to his 80s in Amadeus in 1984.
Smith discovered his talent while studying at Yale University. He happened to pick up a textbook detailing makeup tricks used in Hollywood.
He began doing makeup for the university’s theatre group and reportedly roamed the campus at night in comic monster makeup.The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences’ Opening Night Of “Universal’s Legacy Of Horror” Screening Series Smith with friend and colleague Rick Baker
In 2009 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honoured Smith with a special tribute to mark his huge contribution to the makeup profession and entertainment industry.
And he is the only makeup artist in history to receive a Governors Award, the very highest and most prestigious type of Oscar.
Speaking at the ceremony in 2011 he said: “I have loved being a makeup artist so much, but this kind of puts a crown on all of that … I am so grateful.”
Smith mentored and trained dozens of makeup artists who are now huge successes in the industry themselves.