Dick Smith

Makeup Artist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his five-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Dick Smith (1922-2014) speaks at length about the difficulties of establishing television's first makeup department, at NBC. He discusses the challenges of working with the studio's hot lights, the live schedule that left little time for makeup changes, and developing the correct colors and textures to be seen on the first television screens. Smith recalls the many mishaps that occurred while doing live television and how he eventually honed his skills and pioneered techniques that helped TV makeup departments both progress and grow. Smith details specific productions of Robert Montgomery Presents and Philco-Goodyear Playhouse as well as other programs, like Mark Twain Tonight! Jeff Kisseloff conducted the interview at Smith's home workshop in Sarasota, FL on May 15, 1996.

"The ironic thing about my career is that much of my very best work was done before makeup was recognized in television and films. There were no awards given during my entire early television career for makeup. Only when I left NBC did they start giving the Emmy and it took me awhile to collect one. In films, there was no Academy Award during the 'Exorcist' or 'The Godfather' or a number of things I did. I was happy to live long enough to finally collect one."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Dick Smith on the book that changed his life
Dick Smith on problematic lipstick for black and white television
Dick Smith on "acting" on live television as a boxer's handler in order to do makeup for a character that was a boxer
Dick Smith on the most disastrous quick change he ever did
Dick Smith on people's fascination with monsters
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on his parents' divorce; on his years at Yale 
On discovering stage makeup; on scaring classmates at Yale with his monster makeup; on his interest in movies; on dressing up as Frankenstein's monster and scaring people at a movie theater

Chapter 2

On scaring moviegoers with Frankenstein makeup, contd; on the 1939 World's Fair
On giving up the idea of being a dentist and deciding to be a makeup artist; on gathering supplies and materials for costumes and makeups at Gray's Drug Store in New York City
On his father's Hollywood contacts and applying for his first job in television makeup

Chapter 3

On the NBC art department in the 1940s; on odd jobs before getting into television; on his big break into television; on practicing makeup at theater companies and reading books
On what he learned from doing theatrical makeup; on standard makeup tools in the 1940s; on his first attempt at making plaster molds and applications for an Abraham Lincoln makeup; on learning about rubber mask grease paint

Chapter 4

On the tools of the makeup artist in the very early days of television; on fellow makeup artists in the 1940s and makeup tips from other artists
On "blood" for The Godfather; on his first days at NBC; on using monitors to see how makeup would look on television; on actors' nerves in live television
On the speed required for television makeup

Chapter 5

On his work schedule and staff at NBC; on his early makeup "lab"; on learning piano during his first days at NBC
On his perfectionist ways; on budgets and administrative duties; on Fred Coe; on heading the makeup department 
On the creative atmosphere at NBC; on recollections of Fred Coe

Chapter 6

On problems that arose on long dramas; on difficulties with directors' and writers' demands; on makeup for James Beard's cooking show; on his on the job learning
On the difficulties of television's hot lights; on the image orthicon camera; on the difficulties of close-ups; on problematic makeup for actor Vaughn Taylor

Chapter 7

On stock players during the early days of NBC; on a makeup mishap on a production of The Count of Monte Cristo; on mishaps on Kraft Television Theatre
On the most disastrous quick change he ever did; on difficulties removing prosthetics; on keeping cool under the pressure of live television
On special effects for film; on makeup for Hour Glass, Campus Hoopla   and Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Chapter 8

On his staff and duties at NBC; on an incident with the king of Yugoslavia; on working with Milton Berle
On tensions backstage during the early days of television; on quick makeup changes with actress Claire Bloom in a Robert Montgomery Presents  production of "Victoria Regina"

Chapter 9

On feedback on his work from trade articles and supervisors; on the sense of accomplishment he feels from applying 3-D makeup; on experimenting with vinyl and foam latex
On creating makeup and appliances for color television; on materials he used; on lessons he learned from doing makeup for The Exorcist - different budget from television
On waterproof makeup; on gelatin molds (pre-latex); on advancements he made for bald caps

Chapter 10

On contributions to makeup that he spearheaded or invented; on trading information and tips with artists at other networks; on the supremacy of NBC's makeup department over CBS' and ABC's due to his own personal drive
On leaving NBC; on working in film and with David Susskind in television and film
On NBC censorship; on the Hollywood blacklist; on his greatest achievement at NBC

Chapter 11

On makeup disasters; On his favorite and most difficult actors to work with; on developing as an artist in live TV; on what he would have changed about his TV career
On his thoughts on people with whom he's worked

Chapter 12

On his thoughts on people with whom he's worked; on makeup for David Susskind Productions
On television's conversion from live to tape; On Power and the Glory, Man of La Mancha, and working with Maurenn Stapleton
On photographs of his make-ups: him as the "Phantom of the Opera", as a derilect, as the "Hunchback of Notre Dame," of his Abraham Lincoln mask, of his makeup room, of Vaughn Taylor

Chapter 13

On photographs: of Eva Marie Saint, John Carradine, Vaughn Taylor, Gertrude Lawrence, Dennis King, Nicolaus Saunders, Jose Ferrar, Fred Allen, Rex Harrison, Ralph Richardson, Everette Sloan, Jimmy Durante, Winifred Heidt, and Nancy Marchand
On photographs on cast members of Alice and Wonderland, Peter Pan, Born Yesterday, Caesar and Cleopatra, "Victoria Regina" and of Audrey Hepburn

Chapter 14

On photographs of makeup for Judith Anderson, Lee Cobb, Laurence Olivier, Sterling Hayden, Julie Harris, Patty Duke, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Holbrook and others
On photographs of makeup for Jack Palance, Ed Flanders, Fred Gwyne, Jean Simmons, Marlon Brando, Linda Blair, Hal Holbrook, F. Murrary Abraham and others
Shows

'Way Out

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Dick Smith on makeup for 'Way Out

Alice in Wonderland (1955)

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Dick Smith on makeup for Alice in Wonderland

Amahl and the Night Visitors

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Dick Smith on makeup for Amahl and the Night Visitors

Broadway Open House

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Dick Smith on Fred Allen being recognized by an appearance he made with Jerry Lester on Broadway Open House

Campus Hoopla

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Dick Smith on his work on Campus Hoopla

Harry S. Truman: Plain Speaking

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Dick Smith on makeup for Ed Flanders as "Harry Truman"

Hour Glass

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Dick Smith on his work on Hour Glass with Bert Lahr and his spinning toupee

I Love to Eat

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Dick Smith on makeup for James Beard's cooking show I Love to Eat

Kraft Television Theatre

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Dick Smith on makeup mishaps with Nancy Marchand as "Queen Elizabeth" on Kraft Television Theatre

Last War, The

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Dick Smith on Eva Marie Saint in The Last War

Mark Twain Tonight!

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Dick Smith on Hal Holbrook on Mark Twain Tonight!
Dick Smith on challenges for his Emmy award winning makeup for Hal Holbrook on Mark Twain Tonight!

Moon and Sixpence

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Dick Smith on Laurence Olivier in Moon and Sixpence

North and South

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Dick Smith on Hal Holbrook as Abraham Lincoln in North and South

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

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Dick Smith on his work on Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse

Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse: "Marty"

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Dick Smith on Rod Steiger and Paddy Chayefsky

Power and the Glory, The

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Dick Smith on makeup for the taped production The Power and the Glory
Dick Smith on Laurence Olivier and Patty Duke in The Power and the Glory

Robert Montgomery Presents

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Dick Smith on quick makeup changes with actress Claire Bloom in a Robert Montgomery Presents production of "Victoria Regina"
Dick Smith on Claire Bloom's life mask, double and makeup in "Victoria Regina"

Robert Montgomery Presents: "Victoria Regina"

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Dick Smith on quick makeup changes with actress Claire Bloom in a Robert Montgomery Presents production of "Victoria Regina"
Dick Smith on Claire Bloom's life mask, double and makeup in "Victoria Regina"

Tex and Jinx Show, The

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Dick Smith on Jinx Falkenburg of The Tex and Jinx Show

Your Show of Shows

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Dick Smith on Sid Caesar
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Dick Smith on getting makeup inspiration from 1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Charles Laughton and putting his knowledge to use scaring dormmates

Emmy Awards

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Dick Smith on challenges for his Emmy award winning makeup for Hal Holbrook on Mark Twain Tonight!
Dick Smith on his Oscar-winning makeup for Amadeus starring F. Murray Abraham and finally winning and Emmy 

Hollywood Blacklist

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Dick Smith on being warned about the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Dick Smith on being warned about the Hollywood Blacklist

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Dick Smith on NBC censorship when he had to make Laurence Olivier look like he had leprosy

Technological Innovation

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Dick Smith on the coming of color television and renegotiating his salary
Dick Smith on creating makeup and appliances for color television

Television Industry

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Dick Smith on being warned about the Hollywood Blacklist
Professions

Make-Up Artist

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Dick Smith on the book that changed his life
Dick Smith on giving up the idea of becoming a dentist to become a makeup artist
Dick Smith on standard makeup tools for television in the 1940s
Dick Smith on the tools of the makeup artist in the very early days of television
Dick Smith on creating makeup and appliances for color television

Stylists

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Dick Smith on the tools of the makeup artist in the very early days of television
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Dick Smith on the tools of the makeup artist in the very early days of television
Dick Smith on makeup mishaps with Nancy Marchand as "Queen Elizabeth" on Kraft Television Theatre
Dick Smith on quick makeup changes with actress Claire Bloom in a Robert Montgomery Presents production of "Victoria Regina"

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Dick Smith on his work on Hour Glass with Bert Lahr and his spinning toupee

Service Shows

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Dick Smith on makeup for James Beard's cooking show I Love to Eat
People

F. Murray Abraham

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Dick Smith on his Oscar-winning makeup for Amadeus starring F. Murray Abraham

Fred Allen

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Dick Smith on Fred Allen
Dick Smith on Fred Allen

Paul Alley

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Dick Smith on his father's contact at NBC News, Paul Alley, and how he helped Smith apply for jobs in the art department
Dick Smith on Paul Alley helping him to get an interview in the NBC production department

Judith Anderson

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Dick Smith on Judith Anderson in "Madea"

James Beard

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Dick Smith on makeup for James Beard's cooking show I Love to Eat

Milton Berle

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Dick Smith on working with Milton Berle

Linda Blair

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Dick Smith on Linda Blair in The Exorcist

Claire Bloom

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Dick Smith on quick makeup changes with actress Claire Bloom in a Robert Montgomery Presents production of "Victoria Regina"
Dick Smith on working with Claire Bloom
Dick Smith on Claire Bloom as Cyrano's "Roxanne"
Dick Smith on Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke and Cyril Ritchard in Caesar and Cleopatra
Dick Smith on Claire Bloom's life mask, double and makeup in "Victoria Regina"

Marlon Brando

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Dick Smith on David Sarnoff, "The Godfather"
Dick Smith on Marlon Brando in The Godfather

Sid Caesar

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Dick Smith on Sid Caesar

John Carradine

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Dick Smith on experimenting with gelatin molds (pre-latex) on a production starring John Carradine
Dick Smith on John Carradine and Vaughn Taylor in Twelfth Night

Paddy Chayefsky

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Dick Smith on Paddy Chayefsky

Bobby Clark

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Dick Smith on Bobby Clark in Alice in Wonderland

Lee J. Cobb

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Dick Smith on makeup for the taped production of Man of La Mancha with Lee Cobb
Dick Smith on Lee Cobb as "Don Quixote"

Fred Coe

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Dick Smith on his "lab" in Fred Coe's desk
Dick Smith on working with Fred Coe
Dick Smith on working with Fred Coe
Dick Smith on making wire masks for a production directed by Fred Coe

Ernest Colling

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Dick Smith on a scene with Uta Hagen directed by Ernest Colling

David Cronenberg

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Dick Smith on a problem he had with special effects makeup for a film

Patty Duke

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Dick Smith on Patty Duke in Power and the Glory

Jimmy Durante

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Dick Smith on Jimmy Durante as "Cyrano"

Morris Evans

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Dick Smith on Morris Evans

Max Factor

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Dick Smith on Max Factor and creating makeup and appliances for color television

Jinx Falkenburg

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Dick Smith on Jinx Falkenburg of The Tex and Jinx Show

Jose Ferrer

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Dick Smith on Jose Ferrer as "Cyrano"

Ed Flanders

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Dick Smith on makeup for Ed Flanders as "Harry Truman"

William Friedkin

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Dick Smith on lessons he learned from doing makeup for The Exorcist - different budget from television

Eva Le Gallienne

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Dick Smith on Eva Le Gallienne in Alice in Wonderland

Reginald Gardiner

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Dick Smith on Reginald Gardner in Alice in Wonderland

Fred Gwynne

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Dick Smith on Fred Gwyne in Arsenic and Old Lace

Uta Hagen

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Dick Smith on a scene with Uta Hagen directed by Ernest Colling

Cedric Hardwicke

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Dick Smith on Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke and Cyril Ritchard in Caesar and Cleopatra

Julie Harris

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Dick Smith on Julie Harris

Rex Harrison

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Dick Smith on Rex Harrison

Sterling Hayden

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Dick Smith on Sterling Hayden

Winifred Heidt

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Dick Smith on Winifred Heidt as "Queen of Spades"

Audrey Hepburn

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Dick Smith on Audrey Hepburn 

Dustin Hoffman

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Dick Smith on Dustin Hoffman

Hal Holbrook

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Dick Smith on Hal Holbrook on Mark Twain Tonight!
Dick Smith on challenges for his Emmy award winning makeup for Hal Holbrook on Mark Twain Tonight!
Dick Smith on Hal Holbrook
Dick Smith on Hal Holbrook as Abraham Lincoln

Robert Jiras

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Dick Smith on a young Bob Jiras, future first head of the CBS makeup department
Dick Smith on CBS makeup department head Robert Jiras

Dennis King

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Dick Smith on Dennis King as "Scrooge" and "Napoleon Bonaparte"

Bert Lahr

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Dick Smith on his work on Hour Glass with Bert Lahr and his spinning toupee

Charles Laughton

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Dick Smith on getting makeup inspiration from 1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Charles Laughton and putting his knowledge to use scaring dormmates

Gertrude Lawrence

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Dick Smith on makeup for Gertrude Lawrence
Dick Smith on Gertrude Lawrence as "Catherine the Great"

Jerry Lester

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Dick Smith on Fred Allen being recognized by an appearance he made with Jerry Lester on Broadway Open House

Clare Booth Luce

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Dick Smith on Clare Booth Luce

Delbert Mann

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Dick Smith on Delbert Mann

Nancy Marchand

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Dick Smith on makeup mishaps with Nancy Marchand as "Queen Elizabeth" on Kraft Television Theatre
Dick Smith on makeup mishaps with Nancy Marchand as "Queen Elizabeth" on Kraft Television Theatre
Dick Smith on Nancy Marchand as "Queen Elizabeth"

Mary Martin

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Dick Smith on Cyril Ritchard as "Captain Hook" and Mary Martin as "Peter Pan"
Dick Smith on Mary Martin in Born Yesterday

Roddy McDowall

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Dick Smith on makeup for the taped production Power and the Glory

Robert Montgomery

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Dick Smith on Robert Montgomery

Henry Morgan

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Dick Smith on Henry Morgan

Laurence Olivier

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Dick Smith on NBC censorship when he had to make Laurence Olivier look like he had leprosy
Dick Smith on working with Laurence Olivier
Dick Smith on makeup for the taped production Power and the Glory
Dick Smith on Laurence Olivier in Moon and Sixpence
Dick Smith on Laurence Olivier in Power and the Glory

Jack Palance

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Dick Smith on Jack Palance in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

Jack P. Pierce

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Dick Smith on monster makeup artist Jack P. Pierce

Ralph Richardson

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Dick Smith on Ralph Richardson as "Scrooge"

Cyril Ritchard

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Dick Smith on Cyril Ritchard as "Captain Hook" and Mary Martin as "Peter Pan"
Dick Smith on Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke and Cyril Ritchard in Caesar and Cleopatra

Eva Marie Saint

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Dick Smith on his work on Campus Hoopla
Dick Smith on Eva Marie Saint in The Last War

David Sarnoff

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Dick Smith on David Sarnoff, "The Godfather"

Nicholas Saunders

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Dick Smith on Nicholas Saunders on Believe it or Not

Jean Simmons

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Dick Smith on Jean Simmons in a production of "Soldier in Love"

Everett Sloane

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Dick Smith on Everett Sloane as "Vincent Van Gogh"

Maureen Stapleton

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Dick Smith on makeup for Maureen Stapleton

Rod Steiger

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Dick Smith on Rod Steiger

David Susskind

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Dick Smith on working with David Susskind
Dick Smith on working for David Susskind Productions

Vaughn Taylor

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Dick Smith on problematic makeup for actor Vaughn Taylor
Dick Smith on photographs of makeup for Vaughn Taylor
Dick Smith on John Carradine and Vaughn Taylor in Twelfth Night

Arturo Toscanini

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Dick Smith on Arturo Toscanini

Warren Wade

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Dick Smith on NBC director Warren Wade

Sylvester L. "Pat" Weaver

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Dick Smith on 

Bud Westmore

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Dick Smith on a Life magazine article showcasing Bud Westmore's makeup for film
Dick Smith on Bud Westmore and the Westmore family

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