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Artist - Make-Up King Rick Baker

Rick Baker at work.
Rick Baker
Rick did the special makeup effects for the Grinch.
Rick Baker
Rick knows how to make Eddy's fat jiggle.
Rick Baker

You might not know it, but you've seen Rick Baker's work in some of the biggest movies to come out in the last 25 years. He's the man behind the mask of several faces and often the man in the mask. He's also the most skilled and well-known special effects makeup artist who's been around since the early '70s.

A small list of Rick's recognizable work includes Star Wars, Gorillas in the Mist, Batman Forever, Men in Black, Mighty Joe Young, Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Rick also did the makeup for Michael Jackson's Thriller video, and appeared in it himself.

You might think someone who's been doing makeup for years would get bored with it but not Rick. He says Men in Black was a really fun project because it had a little bit of everything that he's done during his life. "I started doing basically makeup kind of work, then I got more into animatronics and all that kind of stuff. This film had everything - makeup, creature suits, mechanical monsters," says Rick. "Usually I'll do a makeup film or an effects film and it was a blast to do it all here (Men in Black.)"

Rick was born in Binghamton, New York. When he was 10 years old he decided he wanted to make monsters. It was the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland that convinced him. "When I was in Famous Monsters as 'Rick Baker, Monster Maker,' I'd made it. That was the most famous I ever felt." That's like being named in People magazine or Sports Illustrated. Rick began making homemade artificial body parts when he was in his early teens. He baked the fake parts in his kitchen oven.

Rick has won five Oscars for his brilliant makeup work in An American Werewolf in London, Harry and the Hendersons, Ed Wood, The Nutty Professor, Men in Black and Mighty Joe Young. It's no wonder that with his talent and history he was asked to do the latest movie version of Planet of the Apes. Rick's always loved creating gorillas but he was reluctant to take on another movie with so many special effects. He was already working on Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps and The Grinch. However, it didn't take much to talk him into taking the job. He says most of the apes aren't people in masks. It's Rick's skill and talent that have created a life-like ape with just makeup. Planet of the Apes comes out July 13th, 2001.

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