Rick Baker Gets a Star on Hollywood Boulevard and Enters the Guinness Book

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Rick Baker poses with some of his creations from Men in Black III at the unveiling of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Master special effects makeup wizard Rick Baker was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday. The unveiling of Baker’s star, which is located in front of the Guinness Museum just east of Highland Boulevard, took place at 11:30 Friday morning. The guests included Dick Smith (The Exorcist), Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy), Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black), Andy Garcia, and Bob Burns (Tracy the Gorilla).

Rick Baker receiving LA city proclamationRick Baker receiving LA city proclamation

Rick Baker accepts a proclamation declaring November 30, 2012 to be “Rick Baker Day” in Los Angeles.

Leron Gubler, President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, also presented Baker with a certificate from the Los Angeles city council proclaiming November 30, 2012, to be Rick Baker Day. Both Del Toro and Sonnenfeld spoke about the unique talent and vision that Baker brings to each project. Some of the aliens Baker created for Men in Black III were on display as demonstration of his talent. Baker was also presented with two certificates from the Guinness Book of World Records at the event; he was recognized for winning the most Academy Awards and for earning more Oscar nominations than anyone in movie history. Baker has been nominated for Academy Awards for Best Make-up a record twelve times; he has won seven, for An American Werewolf in London (1981), Harry and the Hendersons (1987), Ed Wood (1994), The Nutty Professor (1996), Men in Black (1997), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), and The Wolfman (2010). He also won an Emmy for his work on The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974), in which he aged Cicely Tyson from age 23 to 110.

Rick Baker star on Hollywood Blvd.Rick Baker star on Hollywood Blvd.

Rick Baker kneels to view his star on Hollywood Blvd. In the background are (l-r) Dick Smith, Baker’s wife Sylvia, special effects wizard Dennis Muren, director Guillermo Del Toro (kneeling) and Baker’s daughter Victoria.

After the presentation and several interviews for various media, while most people were packing up to leave, Baker spent at least a half-hour signing autographs and posing for photos with the hundreds of fans who braved the rain to attend the event, including a contingent from one of the local makeup schools who all showed up wearing their own original creations.

While he was busy with fans, I took the opportunity to talk to his daughter, Veronica Baker, an assistant in the development department at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. I asked her about growing up with a house full of monsters. “I guess I accepted it as normal; it wasn’t until I was older that I thought, not everyone makes this big of a deal on Halloween; it was just a part of my life that there were always creatures around– Gremlins, Harry from Harry and the Hendersons, the occasional monster.” I asked if Baker had ever worked on something that actually frightened her; she told me “plenty; there were plenty of things that I’m still too scared to see. It was hard for me to watch The Ring, and I didn’t see American Werewolf in London until I was older, and that’s now one of my favorites. Videodrome is next on my list, and it’s a crime that I haven’t seen it yet. Luckily, he’s done a balance, with things like The Grinch, and Harry, and Mighty Joe Young, where growing up that wasn’t too much for me to handle.”

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