When legendary makeup effects artist Rick Baker, winner of seven Oscars, announced his retirement late last year, he also shuttered the 60,000-square-foot Glendale facility where he had crafted cinematic artwork for over 20 years.
On May 29, most of that iconic memorabilia was auctioned at the Prop Store in Los Angeles, fetching more than $1 million — better than double the low end of the pre-sale estimate. Approximately 40 collectors went to the Prop Store in person, and hundreds more bid online.
Why the frenzy? Probably because Baker’s art is vanishing, says Prop Store chief operations officer Brandon Alinger. “There are fewer of those big makeup films,” he notes, with CGI increasingly replacing traditional art.
The head, chest, arms and hands from 1998’s “Mighty Joe Young” sold for $33,000, the alien from 1997’s “Men in Black” for nearly $40,000. Michael Jackson’s body lifecasts and molds from “Moonwalker” fetched $11,000.
Baker chose to keep some items for himself, like the werewolf from “An American Werewolf London.”
“It’s a little bit bittersweet for Rick,” Alinger says, “but he liked the idea that these pieces were going to find new homes where they’ll be cherished.”