Ghost Story (1981) with Academy Award winning makeup artist Dick Smith in person
Thursday, October 27, 2011:
MastersFX.com and the New Beverly Cinema
A special evening honoring renowned,
Academy Award-winning makeup artist DICK SMITH!
The evening will include a 35mm screening of
GHOST STORY (1981) with Mr. Smith scheduled to be in attendance.
Highlights of Mr. Smith's distinguished career as makeup artist include the following films:
AMADEUS, THE GODFATHER, THE EXORCIST, LITTLE BIG MAN, TAXI DRIVER, ALTERED STATES, STARMAN, SCANNERS, REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, GHOST STORY
1981, USA, 110 minutes, 35mm, Universal Pictures
Directed by John Irvin
Screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on the novel by Peter Straub
Starring Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas,
Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Houseman, Craig Wasson
Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011: 8 pm
Dick Smith (born Richard Emerson Smith, June 26, 1922 in Larchmont, New York) is a make-up artist known for his work on such films as Little Big Man, The Godfather, The Exorcist, Taxi Driver, and Scanners. He won an Academy Award for Makeup for his work on Amadeus. He has been married to Jocelyn De Rosa since 1944, with whom he has two children.
Smith attended the Wooster School and Yale University, the latter where he studied pre-med, with the intention of entering dentistry. After reading a book on Hollywood make-up techniques, he began administering make-up for the Yale drama group, and entered the field full-time after graduation. He served as NBC's make-up director for fourteen years, pioneering in the development of latex and plastics used in quick-change applications.
Smith pioneered the method of applying prosthetics made from foam latex in small pieces as opposed to the standard of applying a latex mask as one solid piece. Smith's technique allowed the actor to have a wide range of facial expressions, making the makeup appear more natural. Despite initial criticism from many professional makeup artists at the time, Smith's makeup techniques proved to be superior. Today, the standard of applying prosthetics are those that Smith invented.
Early work by Smith was seen on a short-lived syndicated supernatural "Twilight Zone" clone TV show produced by David Suskind out of New York in 1961 called "Way Out", and hosted by Britisher Roald Dahl. Most memorable was a make-up of a man who had half of his face suddenly erased by a spilled vial of photo retouching fluid that affected real people when merely applied to their photos. In another "Way Out" episode, a "Hunchback of Notre Dame" make-up created by Smith becomes permanently affixed to an evil actor who then became his character and could never remove his make-up. Smith contributed to 14 other memorable "Way Out" episodes, and other 60's television shows as well.
Smith was also one of the early pioneers of combining make-up with on-set 'practical' special effects, starting with "The Exorcist" in 1973, and was an artistic influence of later FX make-up artists such as Rob Bottin. Though many of Smith's make-up effects were so well conceived as to go undetected, Smith's expertise gained prominence and acclaim through the variety and ingenuity of his many effects for The Exorcist. Some of his proteges have gone on to prominent success (e.g., Rick Baker), and Smith is generally considered to be the godfather of modern-day special make-up effects.
One of Smith's trademarks is his ability to create natural-looking effects of aging. For Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Smith used a dental device called a "plumber" to droop the actor's jowls. The transformation was so real that Brando could eat at local restaurants around the set of the film without being recognized. In his Academy Award-winning work in the Best Picture winner Amadeus, he transformed lead actor F. Murray Abraham into an elderly and crumbling old man.
In the early-mid 60s, Smith published an instructional book, entitled Dick Smith's Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook, a special edition of Forrest J. Ackerman's "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine series. The detailed techniques outlined in this 100-page photo-heavy magazine were a huge influence on younger make-up artists who later revolutionized the quality of make-up in the film industry.
Smith only has 4 fingers on his left hand. He is missing his ring finger which he lost due to an infection from an injury. He refers to it as his "Mickey Mouse hand"; he is not missing his pinky, as is commonly believed. The ring finger bones in the hand were removed to make it look more natural.
New Beverly Cinema (View)
7165 W. Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036