Dick Smith, known as the godfather of makeup, died at the age of 92. The sad news was announced by his protege, Rick Baker, on Thursday morning, July 31, via Twitter. Baker wrote of the passing, "The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same." He is survived by wife Jocelyn De Rosa and two children.
Smith was a pioneer in his field. His list of credits included "The Godfather", "The Exorcist", "Amadeus" and "Taxi Driver". He realistically transformed 40-year-old F. Murray Abraham into 80-year-old Antonio Salieri on "Amadeus" and won an Oscar in 1985 for the work. He also pioneered the use of foam latex, using small sections to free up the movement of an actor's face.
Smith started his career in television industry and became head of makeup department at NBC in 1945. He came to prominence with his work in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" in 1972. Smith worked with Marlon Brando and changed the actor's looks completely. He spent an hour and a half before each scene, adding jowls, age spots and grey hair to create the character Vito Corleone.
Smith received an honorary Oscar in 2011. Presenting the award, Baker, who worked as his assistant in "The Exorcist", said that Smith "took makeup to a whole new level."
In January, Smith received the Makeup Artists Lifetime Achievement Award at the Makeup Artists and Hair Stylist Guild Awards. Makeup Artists Guild president Sue Cabral-Ebert said, "Rarely have there been makeup artists with the legendary inventiveness, creativity and artistic excellence of Dick Smith."
Smith had trained dozens of makeup artists who are now successful in the industry.