Memory Book

Dick Smith died in Los Angeles on July 30, 2014 at the age of 92, survived by his two sons. These are just some of the remembrances his colleagues and students left for him.

Aug 27, 2014
He was the first person I worked with in film. And after that I never went one day onto a film set, or most any other places, without taking Dick with me and pulling him out of the hat at least once or twice to ask him about something. Probably thousands of times I have stopped, failing and flailing in the middle of some effort, and called on him. Conjured him up and asked him to loan me some patience or dexterity or thoughtful inventiveness, it’s just his demeanor. I guess I bonded with the first parent bird I could find. But I got pretty lucky to open my eyes and see the likes of him, first. And the image of his quiet, specific, direct, unassuming consistency never failed, if not to “fix” me and make me presentable socially at least to inspire me to continue to try to be like him because of how reasonable an idea it was to try to be like him. So the image always managed to, if nothing else, settle me down. He really is the best I ever met in the film world. Authentically inspired, authentically understanding, authentically compassionate. Authentic humor. Authentic artistic vision. Authentic gentleman. Rest in happy, satisfied peace, Dick. You gave to us and gave to us and gave to us and we are really, really grateful. Love and good sailing, William Hurt
William Hurt
Sep 29, 2015
Without you, the movies we love wouldn’t be as legendary. Thank you for your brilliance.
Kasey, Chicago, IL

Jun 06, 2015

I had the privilege to have been accepted by Dick to enroll in his course. Out of the huge number of letters, faxes and e-mails we exchanged, allow me to cite here some stories which speak volumes about Dick’s human warmth and professional ethics: -Gil Mosko presented on the market two Pax Paint palette, for Caucasian and dark skin. Both were supervised and approved by Dick, creator of the PAX paints, one of his many innovations in the field of special make up effects.

When I heard about this, I asked Dick if he could send me an example of these palettes; just a small color chart easy to send by mail in an envelope. A couple of days later, a UPS van stopped at the door of my house. The UPS man gave me a package containing not only the color charts, handcrafted by Mosko himself, but also two palettes of Pax Paint bottles, so that I could try them! Of course, Dick had never told me about this in advance. It was one of his usual surprises. – While modelling A Japanese face , I reflected about the best way to mold and apply the Asian epicanthic eyelid fold to the Western-faced model.

I had heard that Carl Fullerton had done an amazing Asian characterization on actor Joel Gray. As Fullerton had been Dick’s assistant for many years, I asked Dick if he had provided advice to Fullerton on this job. As a reply, I received an e-mail from Dick, which started saying “I phoned Carl to ask him how he did the job, and he told me that…”. What followed was a detailed description of how to go about the job, but I was flabbergasted at the beginning of the e-mail. Dick had called his former assistant to ask him for pointers.

That is, as if the Pope called the altar boy to ask him the recipe for the sacramental bread; a great yet humble man. -When the peso/dollar exchange became tricky in Argentina (due to the 2001 crisis), Dick was so kind as to offer me to send me the Make Up Artist Magazine; he knew I read it. As he wrote for the magazine, he used to receive several extra copies and thought of me to send me one of those extra copies every time a new issue came out. I thanked him his generosity, and in return I volunteered to pay for the cost of the delivery. His answer was categorical: “I will also pay for the mail costs. If you insist on paying these yourself, I will not send you anything”.

I thought: “He seems to have learned something from The Godfather; he made me an offer I could not refuse”. Each magazine came with several Post Its written by him signaling different articles of interest, must-read columns or things he liked and that he wanted to share with me. – In his course, Dick offered some latex foam prosthetic pieces as a loan. These prosthetic pieces had been made by him, and were meant for each student to have a clear example of what a professionally prosthetic piece was like. When the prosthetic pieces arrived at my house, I asked him what was the best way to duplicate them without damaging them, since they were excellent reference material.

In the message that followed, he sent me a long list of steps dealing with several ways of copying those; but at the end of the message he added: “Though you will not need to do anything of this, because those prosthetic pieces are my present for you”. I still keep them, and although many years have gone by, they have not deteriorated. Another excellent job by Dick. – To exemplify how to model wrinkles on a face, Dick sent me a urethane cast. He told me it had been copied from a life mask of his face, that had been taken by his friend Kasuhiro Tsuji to create … the sculpture of a character, a mad scientist, to be placed at a Japan amusement park! When I contacted Kasuhiro, he was so gentle as to send me the pictures of the finished job, which I did not know.

Dick as a mad scientist… Well, part of him was scientist, and another part of him was bold enough to experience with new techniques, something that some could consider madness. -When I started working with latex foam, Dick asked me if I could get a Sunbeam mixer, which yielded the best results. When I told him that the Sunbeam was not marketed in Argentina, he casually said: “No problem at all. I have one to spare. Would you like it? I can send it to you”. Though I had known him for years, he always surprised me and touched me with his generosity. When the package arrived in Argentina, it contained not only the mixer, but also three files with his personal notes, formulas, and letters exchanged with colleagues about latex foam work. The sight of it overwhelmed me. He asked me to return the files after reading them; I not only read them, but photocopied them with his permission. Those files was a gold mine as to information. When I thoroughly examined the mixer, I saw that there were small latex splatters on it here and there. I told him that I was going to use the mixer, but that I would not clean those splatters out, since they were the result of their work.

I was curious, and asked him in which projects he had used it; he said “If I remember it correctly, from The Exorcist to Amadeus”. I was aware that Dick’s only assistant for The Exorcist effects had been Rick Baker, who had been in charge of mixing the latex foam. Also, with Amadeus, Dick won a make up Oscar. A lot of history for a mixer. Each time I work with this mixer, no matter how moody the foam may be that day, I always get good results. No doubt, a mixer with good vibes. – Dick had to reject many applicants to his professional course because these did not have enough experience. According to his own words, he could not sell his professional course “in good consciousness” to somebody that could not take good advantage of it for not having enough expertise. That was the origin of the basic course, a sort of introduction to his Professional Couse. This basic course enabled applicants could to learn the basics of prosthetic piece making and make up application; then, they had to send pictures to Dick, and only at that point could they enroll for the Professional Course.

I had the pleasure to receive a copy of this course, along with Dick’s request to send him my honest opinion about it. This was just one of the endless body of deliveries sent by Dick; for example, a 66 reference photo set of aged faces, or magazine and newspaper clippings with articles about his professional career. -Luisa, my wife, graduated as a sworn translator at University of Buenos Aires. The touching graduation ceremony, where each graduate received his/her diploma, took place at the Law School ceremonial hall, with all the students, teachers, and authorities. After lunch with other graduates, we returned home happy and exhausted. As soon as I opened the door, I found an envelope. I recognized Dick’s handwriting immediately, and I opened it. Inside I found the Make Up Artist Magazine he used to send me, plus a professional course promotional leaflet and a make up union magazine. Dick had sent it to me because there was a detailed summary of his career in it. I started browsing it, but suddenly my eyes could not help but see what I though was a leaflet.

Why a Dick’s course promotional leaflet had my name printed on it!? Because it was not a leaflet. Dick had sent me his Professional Level course graduation certificate, without telling me in advance! Of course, I sent him an e-mail thanking him for the certificate, and his valuable encouragement and companionship during all those years. I told him that exactly on that same day, my wife had received her diploma (he did not know Luisa was completing her studies). She could have received her diploma one day before or after; Dick could have mailed the envelope one day before or after, but no. Both arrived at the same time.

Therefore, I have to ask Dick again the same question I asked him so many times: “Dear friend, can you please explain to me how you do it?”.

Sergio Prieto, Argentina
Apr 13, 2015
I started Dick’s course in 1994, It was a great help to me in my make-up work. I have spoken with Dick many times when I had a problem with a make-up issue and he was always grateful to answer my questions. When I was hurt in a car accident during that time Dick called my house to see how I was. He was like family and will always be remembered. I wonderful man and human being! He’ll be missed tremendously
Austin Guerin, Palm Coast, Florida
Mar 23, 2015
Dick, I was never fortunate to have met you which is quite sad. I wanted to thank you for being such an inspiration and blessing us with your creativity. It brings me such joy when I hear your name, knowing that after everything you achieved, you stayed to grounded. You were and always will be a very loved man, within the industry and outside. I watched a Youtube video the other day, it was your 80th Birthday and you were at the IMATS, you were such a sweet man. I hope and I pray that I can be as good and successful in Special Effects as you were. Thank you for being so kind as to share your knowledge with us. You will be forever in our hearts, minds and on the screen. All my love Jessica Van Bosch SPFX Student University Of Bolton United Kingdom.
Jessica Van Bosch, United Kingdom
Mar 16, 2015
There has never been a person who has contributed more to his chosen field than Dick Smith. His techniques, inventions, and innovations are used on every makeup that we do, and his creedo of never keeping secrets from one another, has elevated the art of makeup immeasurably. Thank You for teaching us by your example.
Rick Crane , New York, New York
Mar 12, 2015
Dick Smith, thanks a lot for sharing your talent. You left us a immortal part of you on every makeup artist around the world.
Jose Maria Montes , El Paso, Texas
Mar 10, 2015
Some would say he was a magician, maestro, others a wizard, grandmaster and even a genius for his believable makeups but despite the horrific stomach-churning monsters, creatures and characters he created for so many movies we love, I knew of him as a kind hearted, selfless, soft-spoken, generous human being. Although the legendary master craftsman Dick Smith nicknamed The Godfather of Makeup is gone, he is certainly not forgotten especially in the world of special makeup effects, film and television. And as Rick Baker once said, “There’s never going to be another Dick Smith. Dick is, without a doubt, the greatest makeup artist who’s ever going to live”. Mr. Smith, like many great special effects artists and technicians in that era had an impressionable impact on me and I was compelled to learn, research and practice all I could on makeup and special effects after reading about the remarkable works in such magazines as; Famous Monsters of Filmland, Starlog, Cinefantastique, Fangoria and Cinefex not to mention his 1965 instructional book, titled Dick Smith’s Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up. I feel blessed to have had the pleasure of his company whether reading one of his articles in a movie magazine, watching his magic unfold before my eyes on screen or from the times seeing him at a convention. Dick, You gave us something wonderful, something that will live on for many years to come probably and that is and of yourself and for that we are eternally grateful. 1922-2014 Thank you and God Bless
Thomas Luca , Milford, NJ
Feb 27, 2015
Mr. Smith… I always remember the day I met you personally and introduced myself, your smile and answer surprised me, when you said “I know who you are” i felt so little yet you made me feel like iI was somebody important  It was truly an honor to have met you and the more I see your outstanding work the more I get inspire. I will always remember you and think how lucky i was to shake your hand. God bless you Vargas.
Vargas , West New York, NJ
Feb 22, 2015
Mr Smith, I studied cosmetology in high school, and had a 3 year assignment on ANY category we chose within the field. I chose FX makeup, and spent months doing research on you and your BRILLIANT work! Taking in all detail of your transformations, and what it took for you to get to where you are. I graduated 7 years ago, yet I never forgot what I learned from my research, well..from you. I sit here tonight, watching the Oscars (which I never do) and to see you in the ‘In Memoriam’ category broke my heart. I cannot believe you are gone. Typing this, I still cannot believe it. I just want to wrap this up by saying THANK YOU! Thank You for the gift of your talent, your art, your person… Thank you for the gift of YOU! May you rest in peace..
Daniela R. , Tampa, FL
Jan 17, 2015
Sir. I am an artist and I have start just to have a clue about Who was behind the all the movies that I had the opportunity to watch and study by myself true this years of my life, for almost are your movies. All begins just the last year. When I have decide to study to became a makeup artist. The “funny” thing (if we can say so) is that when I decide that I had finally this kind of a great feeling in one side and a great regret when I realize that time you have just past away. So I didn’t have the chance to find out a little more of you Sir. maybe to create the opportunity and the pleasure to meet such a great person In person in some courses of yours. The more I am studing, the more I have this sensation because I think Sir., you are really Great. I agree and I am thankful about sharing the knowledge, because spreading out wisdom as you did can give the opportunity to grow up on a right way, because we have the instruments, now it’s our will and love for what we do that is going to make the difference. Gratefully Thank you LVCA
Lvca, Italy
Dec 31, 2014
In the 1980’s I was a photographer who became interested in applying makeup to the models I was photographing- “on camera” makeup, as opposed to “street” or “glamour” makeup. There were few books published at that time. Most make up app books covered exaggerated “theatrical” makeup. That wasn’t what I needed. I was naieve- so I got a IATSE member’s catalog and just started calling “famous” makeup artists names I recognised from movie credits! Well, Dick Smith actually called ME. At the time he was living in Boston, not the NYC area. He told me what products to buy and how to apply them. I’d do the work and send him photos. He’d critique them over the phone. Once, he gave me a project to accomplish. I think it was a bald cap or the like. Well, I didn’t get around to doing that. But nearly a year later I called him and he demanded: “where are the pictures I told you to send me?!” After a couple of years he told me that Jim Cola, his buddy at WNYW was starting a makeup class and I should take it. So I did. And that’s how I started. I went on to specialize in historical recreations for documentaries. I couldn’t get into the union. In those days they wouldn’t allow “outsiders” in. To discourage people from entering the field- they “tested” you and the “test” cost 2500.00 If I recall. So I just spent a decade working on indies and later, music videos. I eventually became enamored by the digital technology and lapsed into another field- I push pixels around instead of a latex sponge! I can’t tell you how helpful Dick Smith was to me- he actually cared. I was a rank beginner and although we never met face-to-face I considered him my buddy. I wish things had gone in a different direction. I would have stayed in the makeup design field because I had the pioneering spirit that you needed to “invent” methods and work with materials that were meant for something else. For example I started using a thermo moldable sheet plastic that was designed for the medical field as splints. Common today- but not back in 1990! However the little I accomplished I owe all to Dick and his (5811completely unexpected) kindness. I’d like to bid him a fond farewell.
Patri Feher , Fairfield CT
Nov 14, 2014
I became interested in special effects makeup in 1989. At the time, I had no idea where to learn the craft. So, I did a lot of reading. During my reading, Dick Smith’s name kept coming up. On a whim, I wrote to him asking where I might be able to learn the craft. I didn’t think he would answer me. About a week later, I received a postcard from him. On it he wrote, “Dear Matthew – Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx for answers to your questions. Dick Smith”. I still have the postcard. Honestly, I didn’t think I would get to speak to him. I assumed that he would be busy and I would speak with an assistant instead. I also figured that even if I did get to speak to him, he wouldn’t remember who I was. I was wrong. I called, stated my name, and said that Mr. Smith sent me a postcard in response to a letter I sent to him. I had some questions about getting into special effects makeup. Is Mr. Smith available? The man answered immediately and said, “Oh, yes, I remember your letter… “ It was Dick Smith himself. I was, so thankful for him taking the time to speak to me. I’ll never forget it. Dick Smith was a respected professional, but more importantly, he was a kind and helpful person; I’m happy that I can attest to that.
Matt Dickinson , New York, New York
Oct 12, 2014
I just found out that Dick Smith is gone and the world of professional make up has lost one of its brightest stars. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Smith but followed his career through his countless movie assignments. learning how he transformed Dustin Hoffman for his role in Little Big Man had a great impact on me as I learned and researched make up techniques for my own amusement. I learned about his generosity through many articles chronicling his countless achievements throughout the years; the people he impacted such as Rick Baker and countless others. I was lucky to purchase a re-issue of a make up book he published in the sixties, which although showcased basic techniques it was such a delight to use on my friends and family once Halloween came around. what more can I say that hasn’t already been said about this wonderful master craftsman. Thank you and Rest in peace
Eduardo Palomo , New York, New York
Aug 27, 2014
When I was but a young wisp of a girl, six years old in the mid-80s, some friends of my family had me watch this movie about a cute, fluffy puppy named Cujo. I was scared out of my skull. In order to help calm me down, my mom introduced me to the work of artists like Dick Smith and if I had any artistic skills at all, I would be a make-up effects artist, but it’s thanks in part to Mr. Smith that I have such an affinity for MUA and the wonders they create. Thank you, good sir, for everything.
Lori Bowen , Portland, OR
Aug 27, 2014
I was a young guy in my mid twenties when I contacted Dick through Tom Savini. I had just recently published Tom’s first GRANDE ILLUSIONS book and wanted to republish Dick’s original Warren magazine MONSTER MAKE UP HANDBOOK that I grew up with as a trade paperback. I was a novice publisher, yet Dick worked with me to help make my dream come true and therefore helped a generation to find his make-up secrets. He was very gracious and selfless and although we eventually lost touch when he moved from NY, he would never be forgotten. I feel bad for all those who will never have had the pleasure of his company.
Bob Michelucci, Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 26, 2014
I use to work at Men’s Wearhouse, and I remember seeing someone walk through the door that looked vaguely familiar. An elderly man with a younger lady came by to get a tuxedo rental. I figured it was his daughter, she was getting married and he was the father of the bride here to get measured. I say them down and we started talking but I couldn’t shake off something about him. He noticed my nails, and at the time I had painted Frankenstein, Dracula, and ghosts, and he asked to take a closer look, and when he reached out his hand and held my hand to see my nails I realized who it was. Without realizing it I said “Mickey Mouse” out loud and he smiled and looked at me and asked if I knew who he was. I said of course and couldn’t believe that Richard “Dick” Smith was in front of me, and the woman was his personal assistant. He came in to get a rental because he was going to win a lifetime achievement award along with Oprah Winfrey and I remember getting chills as he spoke to me about it. He asked me what I wanted to do and told me that he could tell I was creative and that I could do whatever I set my mind to and work hard. I got goosebumps and couldn’t believe how kind, humble, genuine, funny, and inspiring he was. To this day, I could never forget that moment, and how much of an impact it made in my life… It’s my dream to follow in his footsteps and be able to do something that I’m passionate about such as makeup. I can’t believe he’s gone, and the tears won’t stop falling. It truly is heartbreaking to lose such a great man, but may he finally rest in peace. And although he may no longer be with us, but the memory of him and what he left behind will never be forgotten. He was and truly is still a legend and the “godfather of makeup.”
Diana Makhshikyan , Pasadena, CA
Aug 24, 2014
I was a young teen in the eighties studying every page of Starlog, Fango, and Cinefex. I quickly learned that Dick Smith was someone I wanted to model my career after. I had just a couple of correspondence opportunities with him and he was very open and honest about the integrity of my work. I never became a professional make-up artist, but Dick inspired me in other ways, which have made me successful. The way he mentored me—a complete stranger asking for help—has stuck with me for life. I am now a corporate coach and act as a mentor and leader for those in need. Dick laid the foundation and core principals for me to enable others to be successful. He taught me how to accept critique, be humble, and pass knowledge along to those that can advance the craft—no matter what it may be. I will always remember him. Developing talent and watching others grow is one of the most gratifying experiences in life—Dick taught me this. Thank you Dick for inspiring me.
Emmett “Dusty” Rhodes , Ocala, FL
Aug 22, 2014
A few of the many things Dick Smith told me during our correspondence in the early 1980’s were “You have a fair amount of talent. You are someone I certainly wouldn’t say forget it. You are not a make-up genius. You have to work at it. I had to work at it. Your main weaknesses are sculpting anatomy and application. You need to study nose anatomy, etc. I’m sure you can make it with more effort.” What didn’t squelch me was that Dick believed in me regarding ‘effort.’ That drove me to work very hard to improve. A decade or so later, Dick told me that I had done certain things in an old age sculpture he’d been spending his entire career trying to get. That man was not threatened by up and coming artists and would even tell some that they had passed him up in skill (which I don’t believe is possible). He was so giving. I love you Dick. Just one among the thousands whose lives you touched, I am ever so grateful to your honesty and caring over the years. For an atheist, you have to be the truest Christian I’ve ever known.
Glen Eisner , Whittier, CA
Aug 22, 2014
My gratitude to Dick Smith, a phenomenal artist, a phenomenal person. You gave us hope, you shared knowledge and encouraged us to dream in the world of special effects!
Leonardo Rodrigues , Minas Gerais/Brazil
Aug 20, 2014
I first made my connection with Dick Smith when he answered my fan letter sent his way in early 1968 when I was 14 years old. I was already crazy about movies and everything about them, including the special kind of movie makeup that actually changed what people looked like. There were a handful of guys whose makeup work I admired, but Dick Smith was already at the top of that short list. Even then I used to wonder why he wasn’t doing all the biggest movies, because it was so obvious to me he was the best out there. Of course, in only a couple more years he would be doing all the big movies. I happened to catch him just before the floodgates opened. When Dick actually answered my fan letter, I was over the moon. Also because of HOW he answered it. The postman left me a fat, oversized envelope on the front porch addressed to me from NY, containing a wonderful two page letter, along with a huge stack of 8×10 B&W photos. They were mostly pictures of Dick’s own work, never before published, including some step-by-step views showing him applying his makeup to Hal Holbrook for “Mark Twain Tonight”. I’d seen that the previous year, and Holbrook was Mark Twain, a perfect performance wedded to a perfect makeup. He told me I could KEEP all the pictures of his own work, and only asked that I please return some additional pictures he’d included, namely rare original stills from his personal collection of some great Hollywood makeups he’d entrusted me with. He invited me to write him any time, stating he didn’t keep secrets, and I could ask him anything. Do I have to say I was dumbfounded? Euphoric? I couldn’t have known it was the start of a friendship that would last the rest of Dick’s life. The reason we’re all here today is because he had the same impact on all of us. To borrow from Emeril Lagasse, he “kicked it up a notch”…. but way, way up, and by several notches. I could cite specifics, but you all have a rough idea. But starting at age 14, I suddenly had a ringside seat, and believe me I knew how lucky I was. What I can tell you from a 1968 perspective is that Dick’s work at that time was like a fresh breeze blowing right through a lot of stale air in terms of style, approach, attitudes and assumptions. He had his own clean style and his own clear attitude. And he thought differently about makeup. For instance, he felt it deserved respect. He became one of the first makeup artists to demand and get a single-card credit in the main titles of many of the movies he worked on. Imagine the impact of just that on the status of our craft. It pulled us all up, even by association, and may have contributed to the Academy finally granting a permanent category for makeup, commencing in 1982. It’s poetic justice that the award that year went to one of Dick’s greatest proteges. About a year after I became Dick’s pen pal, he introduced me to another young fan who’d approached him, someone you’ve all heard of: Rick Baker. I first met Rick sometime in 1969, and his work knocked me on my ear, both in quantity and quality. I sensed Dick’s heir apparent was standing right in front of me. That same year Dick invited both Rick and I to come be a fly on the wall while he applied his revolutionary old age makeup to Dustin Hoffman for “Little Big Man”. There had never been a makeup like that before, and already in his corner, I felt it paid off on my bet with myself—that he was simply the greatest. In other words, he didn’t let me down. His famous overlapping appliance technique was invented for this, and later became standard operating procedure. I had the luck to work with Dick only once, but quite a picture: “Altered States”. On it I met Kevin Haney, a new recruit in Dick’s unofficial army. When I later struck out on my own, I never lost sight of the ideals Dick Smith represented for me. The saying “What you see is what you get” could have been invented for him. In a business of false fronts, he was not a facade. By nature, he felt responsible to have actually created the work he was credited for, hands-on. Or, his fascination and aptitude for solving problems, versus ‘same old shit’, and thinking by committee. I adopted these precepts for my own. Those of us fortunate to work in makeup effects in those years will never forget the excitement of its new frontier, running with what Dick had begun. He set the bar,and we tried to leap over it. Since movies are universal, Dick’s genius that had fulminated in the nuclear reactor of his small basement workshop ultimately achieved an influence that was truly global. Sensing that interest, he devised a correspondence course in makeup that attracted young aspirants the world over, many of whom graduated to become leading makeup artists themselves, while at least two of them…namely, Guillermo del Toro and J. J. Abrams…successfully took another path. All were left with a common respect for the main thing in which Dick was also an industry pioneer and maverick: open access. He didn’t take out patents; he didn’t keep a padlock on his brain. He wasn’t threatened by talent; he was drawn to it, and wanted to foster it. He only left one thing off the table, the one thing which cannot be taught: a personal style and vision. But, he wanted to enable it in others. It starts with information, and then freeing your mind. Dick provided that information, and he always had a mind that was free as a bird, oblivious to people who keep theirs in boxes, the kind who play it safe in their foxholes and say, “It’ll never work!”. He successfully followed his muse to the glory of his breakthrough achievements. His credo of sharing and enabling cuts to the very heart of who Dick was. He had respect, love and enthusiasm for life and for people, and acted on a genuine impulse to do whatever he could to help them succeed and prosper. You didn’t have to be famous or important. If you were talented and in earnest, you were important—to him. The very last thing I think he ever considered was being “the greatest”—and that’s probably why he was. And maybe the glasses he wore most of his life had a magic prescription, because he could see the future through them. This morning before they brought the lights down in the house I could see the impressive turnout here today, including some of the top stars in our craft. I was reminded of an anecdote. It seems the famous conductor Arturo Toscanini was rehearsing an opera with a soprano, and lost patience with her for not following his dictates. She retaliated saying, “Maestro, may I remind you, I am a star.” He shot back, “When the sun comes out, you cannot see the stars!” In our field, Dick Smith was the sun. Thank you.!
Craig Reardon
Aug 19, 2014
Thank you Dick for being the one who made my life a happy one, one full of hope, the one I dreamt I would have. Thank you for being my friend and mentor. You believed in me and helped me just because you wanted to, because you were that kind of person. You always listened, always advised and always encouraged. You were kind, generous and decent- I only hope I can turn out a little bit like you. Having known you meant the world to me and I miss you so much. David Meng
David Meng , Los Angeles, CA
Aug 19, 2014
Crying in horror and facing the projection booth as a five year old child, my dad insisted we finish the film Night of the Living Dead. My dad was the best and I’ll love him forever, but that may not have been the best move for an impressionable and sensitive mind. I was never the same and instantly became a monster kid. My parents were artists and they encouraged my artistic endeavors. I became obsessed, drawing and sculpting creatures and monsters . I discovered books and magazines featuring the art of makeup effects and instantly made a connection. I wanted so badly to make my creations come to life! No matter how hard I would stare at the Little Big Man photos in Richard Corson’s Stage Makeup book, foam latex sources and instruction were not going to magically appear. It was so frustrating! I was starting to think this advanced material was top secret and beyond my reach. Until one day, it was Dick Smith himself who featured an article in a publication introducing the mysterious foam latex, where to get it and how to work with it! I was so deeply grateful! He enabled me to bring my creations to the next level of realism! I instantly became a Dick Smith devotee for the rest of my life. Fast forward several years later, his incredible course was being written when I discovered it. He graciously accepted my entrance, but my work needed much improvement. Eventually, after lots of hard work, he decided to award me his course certificate, even when there was difficulty dispensing them ! It is one of my most prized possessions. I will miss him so much. I feel so fortunate to have lived in a time on this earth with this great artist and human being. Thank you Dick for helping to make this life so much more meaningful!
David Hoehn , San Francisco, CA
Aug 19, 2014
Dick Smith, who passed away July 30 at the age of 92, was one of the greatest craftspersons of the 20th century. First working in television in New York then in film, Smith’s works as a special makeup effects artist were always impeccably conceived and realized, often setting new benchmarks in the process. Setting him apart from many of his peers, Smith’s supreme attention to detail and mastery of the preparation and appliance of materials in all of his creations was often matched by his generosity of spirit, passing along his techniques to a growing contingent of aspiring artists through his 40+ years as an active artist then later in his retirement from film sets. Until Smith and a select few others began to disseminate their career information to a new breed of emerging artist, much of the knowledge within makeup artistry was considered secretive and off-limits to those outside of the craft’s inner circle. Without question, Smith helped to change an entire culture with his benevolent personality. Considering this wide breadth of artists and admirers who were influenced by Smith, one cannot possibly measure the overall impact that he made on several generations of artisans and an entire industry. To those he touched and those whose industry he changed, he will forever be missed and never be forgotten.
Scott Essman , Los Angeles, California
Aug 19, 2014
Thank you for all you did for the makeup and the other people. You’re a great makeup artist, a great professional but the most important a great person with an exceptionnal sense of generosity. THANK YOU FOR EVER !
Jacques Olivier Molon , Paris, France
Aug 19, 2014
I met Mr Dick Smith in person 2010 at IMATS, he stopped and spoke with such humbleness. He gave me some wise words of encouragement…” to respect our craft, share your knowledge with others, enjoy yourself, its OK to fail as long as you don’t beat yourself up and continue to work hard at what you do” .I will continue to share what he told me that day. Shine bright.
Debbie Muller , Melbourne, Australia
Aug 18, 2014
My first and only personal encounter with Mr. Smith was at the IMATS makeup show in the 90’s. It is so memorable. He came to my selling booth and of course I knew who he was, but had never met me until then. He showed interest in my Senna Form-A-Brow Stenciling invention–because,of course he was such an inventor. He told me that tomorrow he would bring a me a Lip Stenciling device that he created so I could play around with it. So low and behold the next day he came to my booth baring his device! He said, “keep it for as long as you need to in order see how you like it—but I do want it back”. I was so stunned by his generosity and trust as he really didn’t even know me. But by all the beautiful words from those at his memorial, I see he was of the most generous nature and wanted to share his incredible knowledge with us all. I kept the Lip device for a year and brought it back to him at the next IMATS show. I will always treasure my brief encounter with him, even though I’ve always felt like I knew him all along from all his amazing contributions to our craft. RIP Mr, Smith, you will never be forgotten. There are few and far in between like you.
Eugenia Weston , Newhall, CA
Aug 18, 2014
Wow. What a great loss. I talked to you many times over the telephone. You were always warm. Concerned. And interested in what I was doing wrong! Pottery plaster, ultracal 30, spirit gum, foam, rubber….the list goes on forever. I grew up talking to you. You always wanted to help me. You were everything that was good about the art of special make up effects. I miss you. See you on the other side Dick. We’ll talk more about this stuff we call effects! Steve
Steve Myers , Baltimore, MD
Aug 18, 2014
Thank-You !
Steve Piccolo , Bay Shore,New York
Aug 18, 2014
I was around 10 years old when I met you at IMATS. My work was in its infancy. And so was my portfolio…. Poorly taken photos that were cut out and pasted into a terrible collage to white paper in a throw away plastic presentation folder. Looking back at it now, I don’t know how I even walked out the door with it! You were kind, but at that time my work was not at a point to even BE critiqued, all I need was encouragement and you gave that. A few years later, we met again… My portfolio was now a plastic binder, with plastic paper covers of full page glossy photos of my work. A step up! It was jam packed with probably 15 makeups, multiple sculptures etc… I was ready for some actual critique now, I wanted to get somewhere. You pulled out a flyer I prepared and gave me a look of confusion… “What’s this?” You asked… I explained it was a one sheet with my work and contact information and that you could keep it. ” I’ll keep this when you can show me I should” Was your response. Well shit, I guess I’m ready for the critiques! You studied every page, every makeup… In great detail. Standing in the middle of a trade show with hundreds of people all around and I was getting the undivided attention from the master. You gave me advise and critique about those makeups that I still think about to this day, and encouraged me to only show people my best work. “Keep it simple” you responded, ” if you are not completely satisfied with a makeup, don’t show it to someone!” This changed the way I looked at my work heavily, it was about quality, not quantity. This was instilled in me. I returned a few years after this with a leather bound portfolio with about 10 pieces in it. I believe this was the last round table that you would do, and I was there as I was every year before. You again, quietly looked through my portfolio and again, studied in great detail what I had. You looked up and handed me back my portfolio and said to me” so what studio are you working at?” To me, this was the biggest compliment you could give to me…. You may not have thought thought the work was great, but you did think I was ready to be working, and it meant the world to me. I had started my first internship earlier that year. Unfortunately our meetings were far and few between. I was not as close to you as many of my peers, and we did not have a constant flow of contact… But your impact on myself and my career was exponential. I feel very fortunate to have been able to see you just months ago at a great lunch put on by Jill which she graciously invited me to… As well as seating me in between my 2 idols. Yourself, and your protégé Rick Baker. It was a surreal experience that I will never forget and am so happy I was able to have before you left us. Thank you for everything, you will remain the master for every generation of makeup artist to come.
Vincent Van Dyke
Aug 18, 2014
You took the time to encourage a 17 year old from Manchester , England , you always responded to my enquiries , and I’ll always treasure your letters from the desk of Dick Smith… You even sent me a certificate from your course after I heard you weren’t aloud to give them out anymore , and sent me your first copy of your mini course to proof read… You smiled at my wedding photographs … And you made me so proud when you included one of my recipes in your course…. You were such a kind soul… I can’t believe how many people you helped over the years, then there is all your work, oh the work. Rest in piece, Thanks for everything.
Colin Ware , Sydney
Aug 18, 2014
The first time we met Mr. Smith was at IMATS,circa 1999. My son and I approached him and politely ask him to look at his “portfolio” Well… He thought it was amazing …for a nine Year old boy! I shared with him my motherly worries that my son was never satisfied with his work , staying up until all hours to try to perfect something … Obsessing about every detail ! Dick in turn told us how he also was never satisfied … And to that day would look back at past works and see things he would perhaps change or rework ! He then looked me dead in the eye and said “That’s what makes him and will keep him great”. I never forgot that on my sons journey to his Special Effects Career of his own. God speed Mr. Smith “Second star to the left and straight on till morning ” Tina Van Dyke
Aug 18, 2014
You made the impossible seem so effortlessly possible. That was the greatest lesson I learned from you. That lesson made me cast aside all doubts and pursue the life I now have. Your generosity, kindness, willingness to give of yourself to anyone who asked in order to advance the science and artistry of make-up is unparalleled and will continue to give and inspire for generations to come. Our gratitude, respect and love is forever yours. Rest in peace.
Mike Elizalde , Glendale, CA
Aug 17, 2014
There are many others who knew Dick far better & much longer than I, but I think we can all agree that Dick Smith touched each of us in his own special way & that each of us will carry our own de?nitions & fond memories of him for the rest of our lives. When I was young, I wanted to be 3 things. An Artist, an Inventor & Magician. I loved Monsters, built models, drew pictures , read Famous Monsters magazine & learned that being a makeup artist was a real job but really never thought of it as something that I would do. Of course running away with the Circus as a Clown had never crossed my mind either. At 19, I was buying makeup at Columbia drug in Hollywood & bought an out of print copy of Dick’s Monster Makeup Handbook & I was hooked. I was living in a tiny 4×8 ft. room on the Circus train traveling across the U.S. & I studied everything that I could ?nd that Dick had to offer from his Monster book to Corson’s book on Stage Makeup. I made myself up & terrorized my fellow performers on many occasions. I was lucky & after a few years, eventually worked my way into the business. I wrote Dick & He sent me formulas & encouragement. One time by phone in the middle of a very dif?cult show doing an age makeup, he talked me through the process of making & using something he called PaX & I kept at it. A couple of years later, while I was on location, he tracked me down & called my hotel room. “Steve, ” he said, “I’ve written this makeup course & wondered if you might be interested in something like that.” Duh ! Those pages became my reference guide for years & I still refer to them today for guidance & inspiration. Once, while working in New York I called Dick & he said, “Hop on a train to Larchmont, & I’ll pick you up at the station.” And so was my visit to his house & that famous basement of imagination & An unforgettable afternoon & dinner with his lovely wife Lynn. While washing my hands in his bathroom, I noticed a statuette on the sink with a washcloth draped over it. Inscribed on it was something like, To Dick Smith, for his Outstanding Makeup for “The Exorcist” I asked about his impressive award & he simply said, “Oh that old thing, well I have to have something to hang the washcloth on.” Dick called me to work on 2 ?lms with him & it pained me so to decline only because I had just begun another job & could not break my commitment. But just the fact that he asked has meant the world to me. I can bet everyone here has asked someone from time to time how to do something, but if you ask Dick, you’d better be ready to take notes. He was a Fountain of information & the more you asked, the more he would give. I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors in my life & each had something different to offer, for which I am truly grateful. When Jill Rockow ?rst introduced me to Dick in 1981, on a street corner in downtown Hollywood I had no idea how he would in?uence my life & career. since that time, with his Makeup Courses & generosity, he has become such a huge in?uence to so many young artists, creating a growth in the Makeup profession that will be unequaled by any one man. I’m happy to say that I did become, an Artist, an Inventor & a Magician. One thing I didn’t count on however, was to have the frame of mind that Dick passed on to all who have truly learned from him, & that was to be a teacher & a mentor to others. With that in mind, Dick Smith will live on & through all of us into the next generation. My memories of Dick & how much he loved what he did will always bring a smile to my face. & Isn’t that really the best course in life to follow? Do something that makes yourself Happy, & in turn, make those that you come in contact with happy as well? Many people have asked me, “What can I do or better yet, what do I need, to become a Makeup Artist”? I can only answer with these few words, however I would safely say that they would apply to whatever you wanted to do in life. Starting with the letters, D-Determination, I – Inventiveness, C – Consistent Creativity, K – Knowledge, S – Sharing, M – Meticulousness, I – Integrity, T – Teaching & H – Humility. Put those Letters & words together & you have, DICK SMITH. One thing that’s become evident to me over time is that the world & this room are ?lled with a lot of extremely creative people. And most of those creative people quite often get off course & move from one creative outlet to another, never really continuing on their original path. How fortunate for us all that Dick Smith stayed on his path. By creating his courses, through his counseling & a never-ending desire to learn he’s left a trail of breadcrumbs for us all to follow. Over the years I’ve received several letters of correspondence from Dick. The last one that I received is a small hand written thank you card. It ends with Dick’s signature proceeded by the words, All the Best. I think that was his subtle way of always giving encouragement. “All The Best”. That’s what he expected from you & that’s what he gave you in return. In closing, I have to tell this one story that I only heard the other day. I mentioned to a hairstylist friend of Dick’s passing & she said, “Oh, I worked with Dick Smith before. It was many years ago in Charleston; S. Carolina & I was young & just starting out. He was so kind & didn’t know me at all, but one day pulled me aside & said, “I’m going to show you a little magic trick.” He proceeded to melt a Styrofoam cup with acetone & with a little coloring turned it into a leech. Knowing that She would probably continue on her path as a hair stylist he still insisted that. ” You have to accept knowledge no matter where it comes from. I quite agree, Thank you Dick, for the knowledge.
Steve LaPorte , Burbank, CA
Aug 17, 2014
I remember the first time you called me. It was 30 years ago and I was 16 years old. I had sent photos of my makeup work to you only a few weeks before. You must have been receiving literally hundreds of similar letters every month yet you still found time to respond to each of us. My favorite thing about you was you balanced being supportive with being realistic. You told me you loved my enthusiasm and love for the art but that I didnt have the natural gifts that some others did so I would need to work extra hard to become a professional. That was what I needed to hear and I then dedicated every waking moment to the craft until you finally told me you felt I was ready to show my portfolio. I owe my career to you. There is really nothing any of your ‘students’ can do to repay your generosity other than continue to celebrate your life and send out a big Thank You.
Jerry Macaluso, Los Angeles, California
Aug 17, 2014
I just got a news that Dick Smith just passed away. The first time I met him was back in 2010, at IMATS (also my first time going). I was standing in line buying something, and I saw the man himself. I’m sad I didn’t say hi, because I was scared and there were too many people A few years later, I signed up for the basic course (made lots of failures), and got accepted for the advanced course. Even though I’m not done, but I am certainly will finish it. I’m sad that I never get to say hi to him, but I am honored to take his course and learned from the master’s words. I’m thankful that I found this course. May you rest in peace and All the best Dick Smith.
Oasis Nguyen , Milpitas, CA
Aug 17, 2014
I had gotten to call & get advice from Dick a few times in the late 80’s when he was still in New York. He always had time for me…Always told me got a pen & paper & he would explain these great techniques & ideas, tried & tested. Thank you Dick Smith for all the support & Inspiration for myself & everyone over the years. A great innovator & Make-up man!
FXMike Strain , Springfield Missouri
Aug 17, 2014
Thank you for your kindness and encouraging words. From the moment I became aware of your work, you inspired me and will continue to inspire me. Thank you.
Jon Price , West Jordan, UT
Aug 17, 2014
The very best of an artist and human being. Thank you so very much, Dick Smith. The art of make-up and make-up effects will forever hold your name in high respect.
Jason Barnett , Burbank, CA
Aug 17, 2014
You will be missed greatly.. It’s such an enormous honor to have been your friend. I couldn’t ask for more. Your contributions towards this industry is forever in your debit. I pray the future holds the same love and passion and kindness you had in future makeup artists. It will be a better place to work in.we are blessed to have you as an idol and guide us to a better industry. Rest in Peace my friend,
Danny Wagner , Glendale, AZ
Aug 17, 2014
I called Dick Smith for the first time when I was thirteen in 1983. He had just sat down to eat and asked me to call him back. I was so worried I had bothered him, that I didn’t call him back until 1993! When I did, he was gracious and warm and immediately made me feel at ease. His passion for his work and the joy he had in sharing his discoveries was inspiring. We spoke many times over the years and when I finally met him in person, he treated me like an old friend. I will miss him greatly for the rest of my life.
Michael S. Pack , Burbank, CA
Aug 17, 2014
I had the privilege of one good conversation in person, and many conversations in my mind as I read his words through the course. I can only express my gratitude for his teaching style that lives on in my mentor, Andrew Clement. A man of a thousand inspirations has passed into the deep. We have all loved and admired you Mr. Smith. You will be remembered.
Stephanie Bartlow , Los Angeles, CA
Aug 16, 2014
Very sorry to hear about Dick’s passing. A brilliant and interesting man.Enjoyed hearing his stories when he would come into the Branford Post Office.
Brian , Branford, CT
Aug 15, 2014
As a young make-up artist working on his first feature film, Dick was always willing to talk with me over the phone. He would spend an hour no matter how busy he was and with you. Whether it was just a hello and thank you or a problem that needed solving. He was a great teacher. I remember a problem I had and we discussed it. He made sure I was solving it on my own instead of just giving me the answer. He was thrilled when I found the solution. Always the master. I shall never forget our talks. Thank you for all the help, encouragement and friendship. You are missed here. God Bless You. – Mo
Amodio Giordano , Saint Petersburg, FL