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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 19 December 1955San Francisco, California, USA
Date of Death 21 February 2006Freeport, Bahamas  (natural causes)

Mini Bio (1)

Sometimes a man is the sum total of the work he leaves behind. This might best describe makeup artist Richard Snell, who passed away on February 21 on location for the second Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, currently filming in the Bahamas. Snell was one month shy of his 50th birthday.

Snell was an artist's artist, plying his trade in the early 1980s before getting his break in such films as Poltergeist II and House by mid-decade. He created both Klingon and Vulcan prosthetics for the fourth, fifth, and sixth Star Trek films under his own company name and often served as a contact lens technician on his projects.

By the 1990s, Snell, who worked ardently in his home studio on Cantara Street in Reseda, California, was an in-demand artist for a variety of horror, science fiction, and fantasy films, on which he served many projects as the makeup department head or key makeup artist.

Known as a master of prosthetic and special effects makeup, Snell acquired key assignments on landmark makeup films including How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Artificial Intelligence: AI. He often worked with his friend and fellow makeup stalwart Ve Neill, who is keying makeup on the current Pirates film, in addition to the first film. Pirates 2 and 3 are being filmed consecutively, with release dates in both 2006 and 2007.

Snell was a somewhat private man who liked to do his work and put it out there, without dissection or interference. Nevertheless, he took part in Hollywood's 60th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz celebration, for which he created a Flying Monkey and Wicked Witch, and was a part time spokesman for Premiere Products, for whom he sometimes held makeup demonstrations.

According to early reports, Snell's cause of death was unknown, but he died in his sleep in his hotel room near the Pirates set. He had just recently gotten married and is survived by his wife and twin daughters who are less than a year old. He will be deeply missed by both friends and colleagues. No service has yet been established.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Scott Essman

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