Rick Baker has been an influential force in the creation of creatures and prosthetic makeup for over 40 years. Mentored early in his career by cinema makeup pioneer and innovator, Dick Smith, Baker honed his craft contributing to films such as The Exorcist (1973), Live and Let Die (1973), and television’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), for which Baker won an Emmy. As his reputation grew within the Hollywood community, he pushed the boundaries of traditional makeup effects by transforming David Naughton into a four-legged, ferocious werewolf in An American Werewolf in London (1981). Rick’s ingenious use of prosthetics and puppet effects won him an Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup the debut year of the category.
Garnering a reputation for excellence and resourcefulness, Rick’s assignments became a diverse and iconic collection of creatures including Harry and the Hendersons (1987), Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983), Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984), Gorillas in the Mist (1988), Coming to America (1988), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Men in Black (1997), The Nutty Professor (1996), Mighty Joe Young (1998), and How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) to name but a few. In the year 2011, Rick won his seventh Academy Award for his contributions transforming Benicio Del Toro and Sir Anthony Hopkins into werewolves for The Wolfman (2010). He recently supplied a new population of aliens for Barry Sonnenfeld’s Men in Black III (2012).
In 2012 Baker received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.