Dick’s Life and Work

Little Big Man

Dick working on Dustin Hoffman’s old age makeup for LITTLE BIG MAN

Dick Smith is famous throughout the film world as the ultimate master of special makeup effects. Over a career that spanned six decades, Dick astonished and entertained millions of moviegoers, thus becoming a legend in his own time.

In acknowledgment of Dick’s unique role in advancing the makeup profession, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored him not once but twice, first with a special tribute ceremony in 2009 and again in 2011 with an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Dick was also famous for his boundless generosity of spirit. He loved helping other artists and was always there when they needed him with information and just as importantly, a sympathetic ear. Dick became a father figure as well as artistic mentor to many artists and had a profound impact on their lives.

2009 Tribute

On June 17th, 2009 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Dick Smith with a special tribute to acknowledge his extraordinary contribution to the makeup profession and entertainment industry.

The two hour event at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater was opened by Leonard Engelman, the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch Governor and MC’d by Rick Baker. It featured guest speakers Greg Cannom, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Mike Elizalde, Shane Mahan & John Rosengrant, Kevin Haney, Andrew Clement, Alec Gillis & Tom Woodruff, Carl Fullerton, Hal Holbrook and Linda Blair.

The standing-room only audience of 1,100 was also treated to an extensive series of video clips of Dick’s groundbreaking work in film and television and never-before-seen documentary footage of Dick on location for  The Exorcist and  The Hunger.

The happy guest of honor received three separate standing ovations, a tidal wave of affection that shook the auditorium.

Dick and the audience were delighted by a surprise video from New Zealand. The giant projections of Peter Jackson, Guillermo del Toro and Richard Taylor sent their greetings and congratulations.

Lifetime Academy Award

Dick is the only makeup artist in history to receive a Governors Award for Lifetime Achievement, the very highest and most prestigious type of Academy Award. By bestowing a Governors Award on Dick Smith, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has acknowledged him as the preeminent figure of the makeup world.

Little Big Man
Dick Smith
Little Big Man
Dick & Rick Baker
Dick Accepting the Oscar
Rick Baker & Dick Smith
The Hunger Crew
Dick preparing Blair Brown for ALTERED STATES