It was 1989 and I had just finished watching MADMAN with the kid next door, who would also go onto being my best friend and partner in crime. And at that moment I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up – Special FX make-up. I had always been creative ( I hate labeling myself that ) and loved movies, so it was a natural fit. My friend and I started consuming as many horror movies as we could. We wanted to learn everything. But you have to remember, this is before the internet and access to info was hard to come by, especially for two 10 year old boys. This all changed when we found a copy of “Dick Smiths Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook”. This changed our world beyond measure. We now had, in our hand, the building blocks necessary to become great make-up artists and it was all thanks to this lonely book in the Littlerock Library.
Dick Smith is considered the “Godfather of Make-Up”. Over a career that spanned 70 years, he created some of films most memorable make-ups like Vito Corleone for the Godfather, Regan in the Exorcist, Jack Crabb in Little Big Man, and many, many more. But more importantly than all those great make-ups was his contribution to the art itself. He pioneered dozens of techniques and materials and was teacher and mentor to many great make-up artists like Rick Baker and Tom Savini. Nearly every make-up artist today, credits Dick Smith and that little book of his for their success. Sadly, Dick Smith passed away today. He was 92 years old and as he said “Gosh, that fellow had a great career”. I could not agree more. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet him but the mark he left on me and countless others will always be present. Where ever you are good sir, I hope the clay is plenty and the foam is running.
Dick is the only makeup artist in history to receive a Governors Award, the highest and most prestigious type of Oscar.