Rick Baker

Makeup Artist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly two-hour Archive interview, Rick Baker talks about his desire to become a doctor when he grew up, and having an epiphany that the doctor he actually wanted to be was "Dr. Frankenstein," so he could make monsters. He describes his youthful interest in monster magazines and model kits and discusses producing his own 8mm version of Frankenstein. He talks about the influence of television in his formative years and how being in front of the "box" led him to his career path, discovering the world of make-up through the horror/ sci-fi television series of the 1960s and the "Million Dollar Movie" which ran classic films. He talks about his first professional job, when he was a teenager, at the (Art) Clokey Studios, where he was a puppet designer for the stop-motion animation series Davey and Goliath. He discusses writing a letter to his mentor, legendary make-up artist Dick Smith, who invited him to his house and showed him his make-up lab and taught him the tricks of the trade. He speaks about their continued association that culminated in Baker's assisting Smith on the feature film "The Exorcist."  He talks about the Emmy-Award-winning work he did (with Stan Winston) on the landmark television movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, in which the lead character ages to 110 years old. He discusses how, due to the fact that he was not in the union, he was paired with Winston and how their collaboration was complicated due to their divergent techniques. He describes his memorable work on the Cantina sequence in the movie blockbuster "Star Wars." He speaks about his groundbreaking, Academy-Award winning work for "An American Werewolf in London," which featured werewolf metamorphosis sequences that did not rely on optical effects. Additionally, Baker discusses his work on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" music video, the series Beauty and the Beast, and the feature film "Ed Wood," in which he transformed Martin Landau into Bela Lugosi. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on February 24, 2003 in Glendale, CA.

"I was told I was never going to get in, because I was this rebel guy that did different things and didn't go through the process. I've been called by my union the worst thing that ever happened to the art of makeup. Not so much now, they finally had to accept me."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Rick Baker on his first job, working at Clokey Studios who produced Gumby and Davey and Goliath
Rick Baker on aging Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Rick Baker on working with actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne on "American Werewolf in London"
Rick Baker on doing the makeup for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video
Rick Baker on doing makeup for Beauty and the Beast
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences
On his first job, working at Clokey Studios who produced Gumby and Davey and Goliath ; on working for Ruth Clokey at Clokey Studios on Davey and Goliath ; on the stop motion animation of Davey and Goliath
On stop motion animation movies he made as a kid; on meeting Dick Smith, and on becoming interested in makeup

Chapter 2

On working with makeup artist Dick Smith; on working on the feature film "The Exorcist" with Dick Smith; on the use of prosthetics in makeup
On the materials used for prosthetics in makeup; on aging Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; on the process of applying makeup to Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and on working with different actors

Chapter 3

On the production of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and winning the Emmy Award; on working on various commercials; on working on the cantina sequence in the original 1977 Star Wars
On the "club" of special makeup effects people, and competition among them; on doing makeup for the feature film "American Werewolf in London" directed by John Landis; on working with actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne on "American Werewolf in London"

Chapter 4

On doing the makeup for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video
On doing makeup for Beauty and the Beast; on choosing his projects
Shows

Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The

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Rick Baker on aging Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Rick Baker on the process of applying makeup to Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and on working with different actors
Make-up artist Rick Baker on the production of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and winning the Emmy Award

Beauty and the Beast

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Rick Baker on doing makeup for Beauty and the Beast starring Ron Pearlman

Davey and Goliath

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Rick Baker on his first job, working at Clokey Studios who produced Gumby and Davey and Goliath
Rick Baker on working for Ruth Clokey at Clokey Studios on Davey and Goliath
Rick Baker on the stop motion animation of Davey and Goliath

Gumby

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Rick Baker on his first job, working at Clokey Studios who produced Gumby and Davey and Goliath
Topics

Advice

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Rick Baker on advice to an aspiring special effects makeup artist

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Rick Baker on meeting makeup artist Dick Smith

Emmy Awards

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Rick Baker on the production of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and winning the Emmy Award

Pivotal Career Moments

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Rick Baker on meeting makeup artist Dick Smith

Television Industry

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Rick Baker on advice to an aspiring special effects makeup artist
Professions

Animator

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Rick Baker on his first job, working at Clokey Studios; on stop-motion animation; on working on Davey and Goliath

Makeup Artist

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Rick Baker on the use of prosthetics in makeup
Rick Baker on the "club" of special makeup effects people, and competition among them
Rick Baker on choosing his projects
Rick Baker on advice to an aspiring special effects makeup artist

Stylists

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Rick Baker on the use of prosthetics in makeup
Rick Baker on the "club" of special makeup effects people, and competition among them
Rick Baker on choosing his projects
Rick Baker on advice to an aspiring special effects makeup artist
Genres

Animation

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Rick Baker on his first job, working at Clokey Studios who produced Gumby and Davey and Goliath

Commercials

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Rick Baker on working on various commercials

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Rick Baker on aging Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Rick Baker on the production of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and winning the Emmy Award
People

Michael Jackson

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Rick Baker on doing the makeup for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video

John Landis

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Rick Baker on doing makeup for the feature film "American Werewolf in London" directed by John Landis

Dick Smith

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Rick Baker on meeting Dick Smith, and on becoming interested in makeup
Rick Baker on how he started working with his mentor, makeup artist Dick Smith
Rick Baker on working on the feature film "The Exorcist" with Dick Smith

Cicely Tyson

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Rick Baker on aging Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
Rick Baker on the process of applying makeup to Cicely Tyson for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and on working with different actors

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