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Dick Smith: 1922-2014

EW remembers the Oscar-winning makeup-effects legend

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A Bloody Genius
I once asked The Walking Dead‘s zombie-makeup maestro Greg Nicotero for his fake-blood recipe. He said, ”I’ve always based my blood on Dick Smith’s formula. His blood has always been the staple of the industry.” Long before CGI and greenscreen trickery, Smith — the Oscar-winning makeup-effects legend who passed away on July 30 at age 92 — was a magician armed with foam latex, food coloring, and Karo syrup. In 1972’s The Godfather, he turned Marlon Brando into the bulldog-jowled Don Corleone. In 1973’s The Exorcist, he remade 14-year-old Linda Blair into a pea-soup-vomiting demon from hell. Then, in 1976, he collaborated with Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver, splashing the climactic gunfight between Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle and tenement lowlifes with buckets of his signature red ooze. Smith may have been famous for his blood cocktail, but it was the diverse array of movie miracles that made him a creative life force that pulsed through the veins of his industry for more than five decades.