By William H. Pratt
When people think of make-up masters they
think of artists like Rick Baker or the late Stan
Winston whose work have changed the way film
effects were done starting in the 1980's. Well,
there is another name to add to that list and his
name is Dick Smith. You may not know the name
as well as the others but you damn sure know his
work. If you have seen the 1973 horror master-
piece The Exorcist, then you know this man’s work.
It was he who turned cute little Linda Blair into
the demonic she-beast of that movie. By combin-
ing latex and glue, he made one of the most noted
evil creations in all of film history. Even if you had
never seen that film, you know what Blair looked like under Smith's ghoulish make-
Although best known for his work on The Exorcist, Smith's work reaches far
beyond that movie. In his early career, he was NBC networks first make-up
director where he worked for 14 years pioneering his work in latex make-up. He
had worked on a short lived series called Way Out in 1961 and wrote a how-to
book called Do it Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook. He worked on some
episodes of the daytime series Dark Shadows and in the late 1980's, he helped
with the make-up and effects for the TV series Monsters.
Dick's work in film has been just as colorful as with his work on TV, with not only
The Exorcist but The Godfather, Little Big Man, Taxi Driver, Scanners, and
Amadeus, where he won an Oscar for best make-up design in 1985. In 2012 The
Academy Awards gave Dick Smith an Honorary Award for his outstanding
achievement in movie make-up and effects.
Today at age 90, Dick Smith can look back at an amazing career and think
about all that he has given to the world, not only movie making but his pioneering
in make-up design and special effects.
Spotlight on Hollywood's