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Rick Baker Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (12)  | Personal Quotes (12)  | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Binghamton, New York, USA
Birth NameRichard Alan Baker
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Rick Baker was born on December 8, 1950 in Binghamton, New York, USA as Richard Alan Baker. He is known for his work on Planet of the Apes (2001), Men in Black (1997) and The Wolfman (2010). He has been married to Silvia Abascal since November 8, 1987. They have two children. He was previously married to Elaine Alexander.

Spouse (2)

Silvia Abascal (8 November 1987 - present) ( 2 children)
Elaine Alexander (12 June 1974 - 1984) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (6)

Known for his incredibly realistic creature effects
Long white hair pulled back in ponytail
Often works with director John Landis (Schlock (1973), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Coming to America (1988), Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983))
Often creates the makeup effects for werewolves and apes
His collaborations with Eddie Murphy
More often than not sports a beard

Trivia (12)

In 1981, he was the very first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Make-Up for An American Werewolf in London (1981) when the category was first introduced.
Interesting details about Baker's career, especially his early fascination with gorillas and his work in three movies featuring them, is told in the television documentary "Gorillas: Primal Contact".
Formed the Cinovation Studios in 1981.
He attended Northview High School in Covina, California. There he made his own gorilla costume and would sometime be found swinging from the football field goalposts. He also would go to drive-in movies showing Planet of the Apes (1968), secretly change into his ape outfit and sneak up to occupants of cars watching the movie, scaring them out of their wits.
The Michael Jackson song "Threatened" (2001) is dedicated to him. They worked together on Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983) and Captain EO (1986).
He owns a framed photo of Jack P. Pierce applying the finishing touches to Boris Karloff's famous Frankenstein (1931) make-up; the photo has been doctored by Baker to appear as if he and Pierce are applying the make-up together.
Holds the record for the most Oscar wins and nominations bestowed upon makeup artists. He has been nominated a total of twelve times with seven wins (An American Werewolf in London (1981), Harry and the Hendersons (1987), Ed Wood (1994), The Nutty Professor (1996), Men in Black (1997), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and The Wolfman (2010)).
Presented his mentor, Dick Smith with an honorary Academy Award in 2011.
Closed his studio and retired from the motion picture industry on May 28, 2015. Received an estimated $1 million from an auction of his collection of props and items he created over the course of his career.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on November 30, 2012.
Received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California (2008).
Contributes commentaries to the web series Trailers from Hell for trailers about science fiction films and horror films.

Personal Quotes (12)

Makeup is an additive process, you add to someone's face. It's easy to make someone look fatter or older. It's much harder to make someone look thinner because we can't really subtract from what's already there.
When I did An American Werewolf in London (1981), David Naughton had basically no body hair. Benicio Del Toro is already very hairy so it was much easier to make him up for The Wolfman (2010).
I learned (makeup effects) on my own face, that's why I look like this.
The first make-up artist I was ever really aware of and became a fan of was Jack P. Pierce. He did all the great classic Universal monsters especially Frankenstein's monster. That make-up hasn't been outdone. It has become this iconic image. Everybody when they think of the Monster thinks of Jack's make-up.
The thing that I find so fulfilling about my job is I like the fact that you start with something that's just an idea in your head. You read the script and right away you visualize something and you see that thing that at one point was just an idea in your head looking real and alive. It's exciting and is a little bit like being Dr. Frankenstein. I want to scream "It's alive!"
I was always just fascinated with monsters in movies, and when I realized that someone actually did that and you could do it as a job, I just became obsessed with it.
So many of my dreams were to actually be able to make a living of what I did as a hobby. I used to have to save my allowances to buy a quart of rubber to make a mask, and it's how I spent all my free time. I still do. I got into this because I love the work. I didn't know anyone in the film business, and I didn't really have a plan B. It's a good thing it worked out because I would be sitting on the side of the freeway with a sign saying "Will do makeup for food".
[on Jack P. Pierce] He never had any real children but he had children who will outlive any children that he could ever have. Those monsters that he created will outlive me and people will be looking at them a thousand years from now.
Dick Smith deserves an Oscar more than any makeup artist I know.
[After the death of his mentor Dick Smith] The world will never be the same.
[2015, on his retirement and practical effects losing favor to CGI] The whole business has changed. I had a 60,000 square foot studio, which was great for How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and Planet of the Apes (2001). But it's not great for making a nose for somebody. And I've had that. I had one project where I had a guy making some teeth, in this 60,000 square foot building, by himself, in summer. My air conditioning bill was more than I was getting paid to make the teeth. So it just became time. Those big jobs don't exist anymore. As a young man, when I finally started meeting some people in the industry, I met a lot of bitter people, and a lot of crabby old guys, and I thought, "How can you be like that? You're in this amazing industry doing these cool things." And I didn't want to become that.
[2015, on his retirement] First of all, the CGI stuff definitely took the animatronics part of what I do. It's also starting to take away the makeup part. The time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now. I like to do things right, and they wanted cheap and fast. That is not what I want to do, so I just decided it is basically time to get out. I would consider designing and consulting on something, but I don't think I will have a huge working studio anymore.

Salary (1)

Octaman (1971) $1,000

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