My LA to Z: Rick Baker


Make-up artist Rick Baker has won seven Academy Awards for his work on movies like Star Wars, Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes, and all three Men In Black films. This week, Men In Black 3 is out on DVD and Baker will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The monster kid walks us down the spooky side of the street.

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99 Cent Only Store

My first makeup was pie dough and the 99 Cent Only Store is great! Kids can make blood from Karo syrup and food coloring or really cool zombie makeup from Knox gelatin. Just recently I used a bunch of Bic pen caps on a robot. I look at one thing and see something else.

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It is the happiest place on Earth. I always head straight for the Haunted Mansion. We try to stay off It’s A Small World, but we end up there too. I like things a little darker and twisted.

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Bronson Caves

I used to go up to Bronson Caves all the time. I filmed my first Octaman there. That’s where they filmed the ‘60s Batman and me and my friends filmed inside the cave. The teenage kids that liked monster movies all have Oscars now.

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The Village

They have really great food. There’s this hamburger that’s half beef and half lamb. I’m not a lamb fan but it’s so good and they put a fried egg on top.

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The Natural History Museum

My favorite thing in the Natural History Museum is Lon Chaney, Jr.’s makeup case. They used to have it in some corner of the basement and it should be right up front. He was a great artist and his work on Phantom Of The Opera has never been topped. I used some of his techniques for Men In Black.

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Halloweentown in Burbank is open all year long. It’s great for somebody like me. They have jewelry, costumes, and monster stuff, and there’s an art gallery in the back. Most of my wardrobe comes from there.

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The Covina Bowl

My parents used to go to the Covina Bowl when I was a kid. They didn’t have money for a babysitter, so I’d tag along and I still have a nostalgic feeling for it. My first job was in Covina working on Gumby for Art Clokey productions.

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Bob’s Big Boy

I’m not a car guy, but Bob’s Big Boy on Friday night is great. I hardly get my car washed but I really appreciate what these guys do. I’d love to cruise in there in some cool ‘40s gangster car. It’s the place to be.

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Paty’s is a cool old-fashioned café I’ve been going to since the early ‘70s. They filmed Invasion Of The Body Snatchers nearby at the old Papoo’s Hot Dog Show.

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The Max Factor Building

I bought my first professional makeup at the Max Factor building in Hollywood. In my mind it was this monster thing, but it was all pink and gold and smelled like perfume and hairspray. I wrote a letter to save it and I’m glad it’s the Hollywood Museum now. They have some of the old makeup rooms and that early makeup Factor used.

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The Samuel Goldwyn Theater

The place I like seeing movies is the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. They recently showed the original Wolfman with An American Werewolf in London and I spoke. I like how there’s no noisy candy wrappers or people on cell phones and it’s just the finest place to see a film. I should spend time there since they give me those awards all the time.

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Photographs courtesy (in order): (1), (2), (3) wikipedia, (4), (5) wikipedia, (6), (7), (8), (9) (10), (11)