Rick Baker—the makeup artist and special effects maven who made his name designing aliens for the original Star Wars and Michael Jackson’s makeup in the video for Thriller, and won seven Best Makeup Oscars for films like An American Werewolf In London, Ed Wood, and Men In Black—has announced his retirement.
The 64-year-old is closing his Cinovation Studios shop after four decades in the business, citing not only his age, but the general state of the industry. “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 also noted that his last project, Maleficent, was so dependent on CGI, there was little need for his practical effects.
Starting today, Baker is also auctioning off over 400 pieces he’s created over the years, including some of the animatronic puppets used in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Jim Carrey’s Grinch costume from How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the Sasquatch costume from Harry And The Hendersons, and various other things from Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Men In Black, and Planet Of The Apes.
Baker says he don’t rule out a future as a consultant, or taking on small projects, but no longer wants to run a full studio. Baker’s retirement marks the end of an era, as his practical effects have long been the gold standard in Hollywood, before the industry-wide shift to CGI.