Mt. SAC Alum Changed the Face of American Movies

Mt. SAC alum Rick Baker
By Mike Taylor

February 15, 2018 - 12:06 AM

As Oscar season rolls around, it’s time to acknowledge one of Mt. SAC’s alums who holds a record seven Academy Awards for Makeup and has made a career out of bringing monsters to life.

Rick Baker, who attended Mt. SAC as an art student from 1969 to 1971, won the very first Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling the very first year of the award in 1982 for “An American Werewolf in London.” He has gone on to win a record seven Academy Awards for his work in “Harry and the Hendersons” (1988), “Ed Wood” (1995), “The Nutty Professor” (1997), “Men in Black” (1998), “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2001), and “The Wolfman” (2011).

He also won Best Makeup BAFTA Awards for “The Nutty Professor” and “Greystroke: The Legend of Tarzan,” and he won a Best Makeup Emmy for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” (1974). In 2009, he won the Jack Pierce Lifetime Achievement Award.

Baker started creating artificial body parts in his kitchen as a teenager. A true innovator in makeup effects for film television, he went on to serve as a makeup artist assistant on “The Exorcist,” which helped him prepare for a career providing award-winning makeup effects in many movie genres from comedy to science fiction and horror films. He also created the “werecat” creature Michael Jackson transforms into in the music video “Thriller.” His special makeup effects include the use of foam, latex, and jell applications to create his cutting-edge images for film.

Mt. SAC recognized Baker in 1997 with the George H. Bell Award for Outstanding Alumnus at the 19th annual Friends of the College Awards Program in 1997.

Through his work on countless films since the 1970s, Rick Baker has quite literally changed the face of American movies.