Richard A. “Rick” Baker is a special make-up effects creator, special effects supervisor and make-up artist born on 8th December 1950, in Binghamton, New York State USA. He is best known for his creature effects, and has won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyiling seven times.
Have you ever wondered how rich Rick Baker is? According to sources it has been estimated that Baker’s overall net worth is $3 million, as of July 2017. Baker has accumulated his wealth through an extraordinarily successful career which he started in the early ‘70s. During his more than four decades long career, Rick has placed himself among the best make-up effect artists in the entertainment industry, so significantly adding to his net worth.
Rick Baker Net Worth $3 Million
Rick’s father, Ralph B.Baker, was also a professional artist, which influenced Rick in developing his interest in art. In his teenage years, he started creating artificial body parts for fun, and briefly appeared in “The Night Turkey”, a video parody of 1972 “The Night Stalker” film. His first professional job came a year later, in “The Exorcist” film, in which he assisted veteran Dick Smith in prosthetic makeup effects. This catapulted him to supervising the creation of aliens in “Star Wars” in 1977, and another big project four years later when he created the wolfman in “An American Werewolf in London”, a project which earned him an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Thanks to his talent and devotion to creating monsters, Baker earned the nickname “Rick Baker, Monster Maker” which he verified once again after working on Michael Jackson’s 1983 music video “Thriller”. Rick was the man who turned all of Jackson’s backup performers and the singer himself into a troupe of dancing zombies. Another big project came in 1987 when he was hired to work on “Harry and the Hendersons” fantasy-comedy film, which he considers one of his proudest achievements.
All these efforts contributed significantly to his net worth, and Rick’s talent is widely recognized as he has been nominated for the Best Makeup Oscar ten more times, received the Jack Pierce – Lifetime Achievement Award title, and awarded a Doctorate from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2008. Some of his other more notable projects include “The Nutty Professor”(1996), “Men in Black” (1997), Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes”(2001), “X-man: The Last Stand”(2006) among many others. In November 2012, Baker received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but three years later in May 2015 Rick announced his retirement stating he did not want to give into the demands of those who wanted the job to be done quickly and cheaply, and that it was time for him to step out of the business after such a long time.
Apart from his fascinating career as a make-up artist, Baker also had a minor acting career. He portrayed the main role in the 1976 remake of “King Kong”, and appeared in a cameo role in the film’s 2005 remake. Other appearances include roles in films “Into the Night”, “Men in Black II”, “Men in Black III”, “The Haunted Mansion”, “The Wolfman” and “Rings”.
When it comes to his private life, Rick has married twice, firstly to Elaine Baker from 1974 to 1984, and his second wife is Silvia Abascal who he married in 1987, and with whom he has two children.
Contributes commentaries to the web series Trailers from Hell for trailers about science fiction films and horror films.
Received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California (2008).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6764 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on November 30, 2012.
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.
Presented his mentor, Dick Smith with an honorary Academy Award in 2011.
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.
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.
Formed the Cinovation Studios in 1981.
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".
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.
Known for his incredibly realistic creature effects
[2015, on his retirement] First of all, the CGI stuff definitely took the animatronics part of what I do. It's also starting to take away the makeup part. 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. I would consider designing and consulting on something, but I don't think I will have a huge working studio anymore.
[2015, on his retirement and practical effects losing favor to CGI] The whole business has changed. I had a 60,000 square foot studio, which was great for How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) and Planet of the Apes (2001). But it's not great for making a nose for somebody. And I've had that. I had one project where I had a guy making some teeth, in this 60,000 square foot building, by himself, in summer. My air conditioning bill was more than I was getting paid to make the teeth. So it just became time. Those big jobs don't exist anymore. As a young man, when I finally started meeting some people in the industry, I met a lot of bitter people, and a lot of crabby old guys, and I thought, "How can you be like that? You're in this amazing industry doing these cool things." And I didn't want to become that.
[After the death of his mentor Dick Smith] The world will never be the same.
Dick Smith deserves an Oscar more than any makeup artist I know.
[on Jack P. Pierce] He never had any real children but he had children who will outlive any children that he could ever have. Those monsters that he created will outlive me and people will be looking at them a thousand years from now.
So many of my dreams were to actually be able to make a living of what I did as a hobby. I used to have to save my allowances to buy a quart of rubber to make a mask, and it's how I spent all my free time. I still do. I got into this because I love the work. I didn't know anyone in the film business, and I didn't really have a plan B. It's a good thing it worked out because I would be sitting on the side of the freeway with a sign saying "Will do makeup for food".
I was always just fascinated with monsters in movies, and when I realized that someone actually did that and you could do it as a job, I just became obsessed with it.
The thing that I find so fulfilling about my job is I like the fact that you start with something that's just an idea in your head. You read the script and right away you visualize something and you see that thing that at one point was just an idea in your head looking real and alive. It's exciting and is a little bit like being Dr. Frankenstein. I want to scream "It's alive!"
The first make-up artist I was ever really aware of and became a fan of was Jack P. Pierce. He did all the great classic Universal monsters especially Frankenstein's monster. That make-up hasn't been outdone. It has become this iconic image. Everybody when they think of the Monster thinks of Jack's make-up.
I learned (makeup effects) on my own face, that's why I look like this.
Makeup is an additive process, you add to someone's face. It's easy to make someone look fatter or older. It's much harder to make someone look thinner because we can't really subtract from what's already there.