Considered by many to be one of the masters of – if not THE master of – makeup effects, Rick Baker has been working in Hollywood for 45 years, contributing his talents to some of the most incredible and realistic horror, fantasy and science fiction films.
Born in Binghamton, N.Y., in 1950 (at the start of a decade which would be a heyday for sci-fi and horror B movies), Baker got his big break assisting on the makeup for The Exorcist, which would of course prove to be a groundbreaker for makeup effects. He learned much from makeup veteran Dick Smith on that film. It was something he had been working toward since his interest in makeup and prosthetics began as a teenager, inspired by Universal monster makeup wizard Jack Pierce. He would go on to 11 Best Makeup Oscar nominations and score seven wins.
Now retired (due in large part to the advent of digital effects), here’s a look back at some of his many contributions to cinema over the years. If you’re a fan of watching horror movies on Halloween, you’re definitely familiar with his work, which helped to bring horror some respectability, after years of being known for cheap greasepaint makeup, rubber masks and dime-store costumes.