Friday, December 19, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Godfather of Makeup’ Dick Smith dead at 92

By
From page B2 | August 01, 2014 |

NEW YORK — Dick Smith, the Oscar-winning “Godfather of Makeup” who amused, fascinated and terrified moviegoers by devising unforgettable transformations for Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” and Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” among many others, has died. He was 92.

Smith, the first makeup artist to win an Academy Award for lifetime achievement, died Wednesday night in California of natural causes. His death was confirmed to The Associated Press by the president of the Make-up Artists and Hairstylists Guild, Sue Cabral-Ebert, who declined to give further details.

“Our lives have been blessed by our father’s steadfast love and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kind words in remembrance of him,” Smith’s sons, David and Douglas Smith, said in a statement.

Widely regarded as the master in his field, Smith helped pioneer such now-standard materials as liquid foam latex and make special effects more realistic and spectacular. He was also known and loved for his generosity, whether exchanging letters about his craft with a teenage J.J. Abrams or mentoring future Oscar-winner special effects artist Rick Baker, who in 2011 presented Smith his honorary statuette.

“He took makeup to a whole new level; it’s unbelievable what this man has done,” Baker, whose own credits include “Men in Black” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, said at the ceremony. “His work inspired a whole generation of up and coming artists.”

With Smith on hand, the middle-aged Brando was transformed into the jowly patriarch Vito Corleone, the teenage Blair into a scarred and wild-eyed demon, and William Hurt into a mass of protoplasm for “Altered States.”

Smith and Paul LeBlanc shared an Oscar in 1985 for their work on “Amadeus,” for which Smith spent hours each day turning 44-year-old F. Murray Abraham into an elderly man as Mozart’s rival Antonio Salieri.

“Dick Smith is the best makeup man in the world,” Abraham, himself an Oscar winner for “Amadeus,” later said. “Once I looked into a mirror, at my face, I felt like it was completely convincing.”

Smith also fashioned a mohawk out of a plastic cap and chopped up hair for Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver” and created breasts out of foam rubber for Katherine Ross in “The Stepford Wives.” Through foam latex and a newly flexible kind of false eyelashes, Smith managed to capture extreme old age in “Little Big Man,” which starred Dustin Hoffman, in his mid-30s at the time, as a centenarian claiming he had survived the Battle of Little Big Horn.

“Even when the characters were fantastically weird, I always tried to make them believable,” Smith told the Washington Post in 2007. “Actors have to feel like they are the person they are portraying.”

Before breaking through in Hollywood, he was among the first great makeup artists for television. Smith headed NBC’s makeup division from 1945 to 1959, using soldered wire to create a panther mask for a then-unknown Eva Marie Saint and slushed-in latex to enhance the nose of Jose Ferrer for “Cyrano de Bergerec.”

In the 1960s, his experience turning Jonathan Frid into a 100-plus-year-old vampire for the series “Dark Shadows” helped prepare him for “Little Big Man.” His other notable aging projects included Walter Matthau for “The Sunshine Boys” and Hal Holbrook for the 1967 TV special “Mark Twain Tonight!” for which Smith won a Primetime Emmy. Holbrook and Matthau were among those who participated in a 1991 TV documentary about Smith.

A native of Larchmont, N.Y., Smith described himself as an introvert with little interest in special effects until spotting an instructional manual while attending Yale University. He became so obsessed that he made himself up as the Hunchback of Notre Dame, scaring his classmates. He later turned up at a screening of “Frankenstein” as the title character.

After school and serving in the Army, he acted on his father’s advice and took a chance on television. One of his early assignments was applying makeup to Democratic Party leaders at the 1948 national convention.

Out of all the praise he received, Smith liked to cite a compliment paid by Laurence Olivier, whom Smith worked on for a 1959 TV production of “The Moon and Sixpence.” Olivier’s character was based on the painter Gauguin, who died of leprosy. Smith never forgot Olivier’s response after he completed making up the actor. “‘Dick, it (the makeup) does the acting for me,'” Olivier told him.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Groundbreakings, ribbon-cuttings play role in civic life

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Sondheim’s ‘Woods’ holiday showcase for Missouri Street Theatre

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Frankye Kelly ready to spread holiday cheer

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Celebrate the magic of Christmas

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

 
Santas have busy week at schools

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Safe streets task force work nets 3

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
 
Solano College approves officers, meeting schedule

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

Longtime Suisun harbor master to retire

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

Hope and some fear in Cuba amid thaw with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Next steps on Cuba: Normalizing could take awhile

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Sony film took aim at North Korea’s biggest taboo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Spy’s parents search for son after Cuba-US deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Local emergencies in Northern California counties after rain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California’s top utility regulator defends record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

‘Pretty horrible’ scene; car slams into crowd

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Police: Drunk man shot while entering wrong house

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
Tsarnaev appears in court for 1st time since 2013

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
President signs legislation ending Nazi benefit checks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

2 states challenge Colorado marijuana legalization

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
‘Prison Houdini’ set to make his 1st legal escape

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Feds sue NYC over Rikers Island jail violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Russian sailors leaving France without warship

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 2 Comments

 
Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

European court rules obesity can be a disability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185 in Nigeria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 2 Comments

.

Opinion

Another look at school bonds

By George Guynn Jr. | From Page: A11, 5 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 19, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

News of the day strikes a chord

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11, 10 Comments

 
 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 19, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D8

 
Should I use Child Protective Services threat to get back rent?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D8

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Dec. 19-25, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Sweet ‘Night at the Museum’ bids farewell to Robin Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Craig Ferguson to end 10 years as host of ‘Late Late Show’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Eric Idle brings ‘Not the Messiah’ to Carnegie Hall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

.

Sports

A’s trade All-Star catcher Derek Norris to Padres

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Warriors beat Thunder 114-109 after Durant injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
A’s acquire lefty De La Rosa from Arizona for cash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Raiders defense depleted by injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
49ers’ Harbaugh mum on reported offer from Michigan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

49ers’ Aldon Smith hopes to build off tough year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Rivera: Newton ‘probably’ will start vs. Browns

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Clausen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
‘Hands Up’ players to attend Ferguson Christmas party

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Rodriguez boys open Les Curry Tournament with victory

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

39 bowl games and a reason to watch every one

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Column: Thaw in US-Cuba relations warms up MLB

By Jim Litke | From Page: B8

Signups for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B11

 
.

Business

Roomiest Subaru Legacy debuts for 2015

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1

 
Dow industrials have their best day in three years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Ford expands drivers air bag recall nationwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Lisa Dee McHughes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Travis Curt Price

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jennie Ponce Reyes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics