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Make-up/Special Effects Master Rick Baker Plans Retirement

Ever since 1971, Rick Baker has been creating some of the most famous characters in cinema. But recently he has announced that he will retiring at the age of 64. When asked about it, he released this statement.

“I said 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.”

He started working in the early 70s, including working for special effects master Dick Smith on the horror classic The Exorcist. Soon Mr. Baker became a skilled make-up and effects man, working for projects like Star Wars: A New Hope, Videodrome, It’s Alive,  and The Fury.

His name became huge due to his work on the John Landis directed music video for Micheal Jackson’s Thriller.


He had worked with Mr. Landis before on American Werewolf in London. Other also created other werewolves for films like The Howling, the 1980s television series Werewolf, and the 2010 version of Universal’s The Wolf-man.

He also was famous for a number of Gorilla based designs for films like the 1976 King Kong, Harry and the Hendersons, Gorillas in the Mist, 1998’s Mighty Joe Young and Tim Burton’s version of Planet of the Apes. Other creature features include the Ron Pearlman Beauty and the Beast TV series, the Men in Black films, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Gremlins 2, and Hellboy.

Rick is also famous for his human transformations. He turned Martin Landau into horror icon Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. He handled Robert Downey Jr.’s white guy to black character make-up for Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder. But most famously, he is responsible for most of Eddie Murphy’s many characters from films like The Nutty Professor movies, Coming to America, and Norbit.

Mr. Baker has been quoted as saying that the rise of CGI has eliminated most of the kinds of work he is known for and the demands of the current industry are not helping. Recently, he sold much of his famous creations at an auction and seems to be truly moving away from the film business.

However he is still creating art and showing it to the world though Twitter and YouTube. So maybe we have not fully seen the last of this master of creatures. I sure hope not because I love the his work. From his demons to his aliens to his werewolves to even his humans, it is always amazed me how one man could have such diverse looks for his art. I wish him well on his retirement, but I ready for him to make a return if he ever wants to come back.

Do you guys think? he will stay in retirement? What are your favorite Rick Baker creations? Let us know in the comments.

Sources: Collider, 89.3 KPCC, Slash Film


About The Author
William Wright
William Wright
Born in 1990. At the age of 17, he decided wanted to make movies and other pieces of entertainment. In 2013, he graduated from Shenandoah University with a 4 year degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Theater. Later that year, he enrolled into the The Factory Digital Film Program at The Douglas Education Center and graduated in September 2014. He hopes to one day become a writer, director, producer and occasional actor in various projects.

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