Rick Baker was born on December 8, 1950 in Binghamton, New York, USA as Richard Alan Baker. He is known for his work on Men in Black (1997), Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and Planet of the Apes (2001). He has been married to Silvia Abascal since November 8, 1987. They have two children. He was previously married to Elaine Baker.
Known for his incredibly realistic creature effects.
Long white hair pulled back in ponytail.
Often works with director John Landis (Schlock (1973), An American Werewolf in London(1981), Coming to America (1988), Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983)).
Often creates the makeup effects for werewolves and apes.
His collaborations with Eddie Murphy.
More often than not sports a beard.
In 1981, he was the very first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Make-Up for An American Werewolf in London (1981) when the category was first introduced.
Interesting details about Baker’s career, especially his early fascination with gorillas and his work in three movies featuring them, is told in the television documentary “Gorillas: Primal Contact”.
Formed the Cinovation Studios in 1981.
He attended Northview High School in Covina, California. There he made his own gorilla costume and would sometime be found swinging from the football field goalposts. He also would go to drive-in movies showing Planet of the Apes (1968), secretly change into his ape outfit and sneak up to occupants of cars watching the movie, scaring them out of their wits.
The Michael Jackson song “Threatened” (2001) is dedicated to him. They worked together on Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983) and Captain EO (1986).
He owns a framed photo of Jack P. Pierce applying the finishing touches to Boris Karloff‘s famous Frankenstein (1931) make-up; the photo has been doctored by Baker to appear as if he and Pierce are applying the make-up together.
Holds the record for the most Oscar wins and nominations bestowed upon makeup artists. He has been nominated a total of twelve times with seven wins (An American Werewolf in London (1981), Harry and the Hendersons (1987), Ed Wood (1994), The Nutty Professor(1996), Men in Black (1997), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and The Wolfman(2010)).
Presented his mentor, Dick Smith with an honorary Academy Award in 2011.
Closed his studio and retired from the motion picture industry on May 28, 2015. Received an estimated $1 million from an auction of his collection of props and items he created over the course of his career.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on November 30, 2012.
Received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California (2008).
Contributes commentaries to the web series Trailers from Hell for trailers about science fiction films and horror films.