Make-up can brighten your eyes or define a sultry pout. It can also make those same eyes terrifying, those same lips cracked and bloody. It can make teeth yellow with decay, ready to spew, say, pea soup. The gruesome look of the girl in The Exorcist was the work of Dick Smith.
Dick Smith was the special effects make-up artist behind Marlon Brando’s jowls in The Godfather (1972), Linda Blair’s transformation into a girl possessed by a demon in The Exorcist (1973) and the Mohawk sported by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver (1976). Smith also turned F Murray Abraham into a wizened octogenarian for his role as Mozart’s rival Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (1984), earning himself an Academy Award (shared with Paul LeBlanc).
His contributions to the craft inspired a whole other generation of Hollywood makeup artists, many of whom Smith taught. “There’s never going to be another Dick Smith. Dick is, without a doubt, the greatest makeup artist who’s ever going to live,” said Rick Baker, the makeup artist behind Men in Black, who was Smith’s assistant on The Exorcist.
These incredible transformations of actors make them almost unrecognizable, and its all thanks to the incredible and pioneering work of makeup artist Dick Smith.
1. Eli Wallach in I, Don Quixote (1959)
2. Laurence Olivier in The Moon and Sixpence (1959)
3. Anthony Quinn in Requiem For a Heavyweight (1962)
4. Peter Sellers in The World of Harry Orient (1964)
5. Anthony Quinn in Marco the Magnificent (1965)