In memoriam: Dick Smith

News Ryan Lambie
31 Jul 2014 - 14:57

Legendary makeup artist Dick Smith, famous for such films as The Exorcist and The Godfather, has sadly passed away.

We're sad to report that Dick Smith, the indescribably talented makeup artist behind some classic movies, has died at the age of 92. Even if you aren't familiar with his name, you'll have almost certainly seen his work: for one thing, he was responsible for Marlon Brando's seamless aged makeup in The Godfather - the artificial jowls making Brando so unrecognisable that he could sit and eat in a restaurant without being recognised.

That film earned Smith the nickname "the Godfather of makeup", but it was but one film in a long and illustrious career. He created the horrifying effects for Taxi Driver's conclusion. He made F Murray Abraham look suitably decrepit and malicious for the opening and closing scenes in Milos Forman's Amadeus. Smith's most extensive and technically complex work came in 1973, when he worked with William Friedkin on the possession effects in The Exorcist.

Having worked on a range of TV shows and movies since the early 1940s, Smith's final screen credit was in the 1999 horror remake, House On Haunted Hill. In 2011, Smith received a much-deserved honorary Academy Award for his extraordinary lifetime of achievements.

Smith's passing has left an irreparable hole in the effects industry, but also a body of work that will stand for many, many decades to come. Of Smith's passing, fellow artist Rick Baker - who handed Smith his Oscar in 2011 - wrote on Twitter, "The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same."


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