Dick Smith, Hollywood's 'Godfather of Makeup,' dies at 92

By Daniel S Levine,

Dick Smith, the Oscar winning makeup artist who helped F. Murray Abraham age decades in Amadeus and turned Marlon Brando into Don Corleone for The Godfather, has died. The ‘Godfather of Makeup’ was 92 years old.

Rick Baker, Smith’s protege and an Oscar winner himself, announced the news on Twitter. “The master is gone,” Baker wrote. “My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same.”

Smith proved invaluable for filmmakers for decades, with a career dating back to the 1940s. He worked on TV and movies, and his first major feature project was 1962’s Requiem for a Heavyweight, which required him to turn Anthony Quinn into a battered boxer.

Later, he gave Robert De Niro a mohawk in Taxi Driver and worked on The Hunger, turning David Bowie into a vampire, notes The Hollywood Reporter. He also turned Linda Blair into a demon in The Exorcist, which he called his favorite movie.

He worked on countless Oscar-winning movies, including the Best Picture winners The Godfather and Part II, Midnight Cowboy, The Deer Hunter and Amadeus, which earned him his only competitive Oscar. He was nominated for his work on the Jack Lemmon movie Dad in 1989 and later received an honorary award in 2012.

Smith was widely considered the greatest makeup artist to work in Hollywood and many of today’s artists swear by his methods.

 
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