Special effects and make-up artist Rick Baker, after seven Oscar wins and dozens of film, music video, and television credits to his name, has announced plans to retire. But fans of his work will have a chance to own a piece of his deep legacy.
Baker, who may be most widely known for creating Michael Jackson’s iconic look in the “Thriller” music video, told radio station 89.3 KPCC of his intent to hang up the prosthetics and wigs after decades of memorable work.
“I said the time is right, I am 64 years old, and the business is crazy right now,” Baker told KPCC. “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.”
Baker clarified that he’s not opposed to continuing to consult or pitch in on projects, but that he doesn’t want to run such an involved operation has he has at Cinovation Studios.
His career not only includes the memrable make-up from “Thriller,” but everything from alien designs in Men in Black to creature design of Ron Pearlman’s Beast from Beauty and the Beast.
Baker’s last major project was work on last year’s Maleficent, but because of the industry’s shift to more CGI effects and less practical work, Baker’s seen less of a need for his specialty.
“I could’ve done [Maleficent] in a garage basically,” Baker said of the project’s size.
But Baker’s work will live on, as over 400 pieces are set to be auctioned off by The Prop Store in California on May 29. Everything from the Grinch’s Santa costume from the 2001 live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas to Harry’s suit from Harry and the Hendersons will be available at the live auction.
Baker said he may continue to work on projects on his own terms, and he has been posting some of his work on his Twitter account and YouTube channel. Listen to Baker discuss his plans to retire on KPCC’s official website.