Written by Andrew Goulding
“Stuart…..FIX IT !” – the oft-heard cry echoing down the studio corridors usually preceded another pioneering invention from one of the most talented make-up & effects men in the industry – Stuart Freeborn.
Stuart’s long and distinguished career spanned more than 6 decades and included hundreds of movies which were brought to life by his skills, each treated with the same degree of boundless enthusiasm . In these early days of make-up effects, Stuart’s techniques were revolutionary to say the least and forged the way for the standard of make-up & effects work we now take for granted on the silver screen.
Stuart Freeborn became interested in theatrical makeup whilst in school. Following a stint in the army, in 1936 he finally began working with Alexander Korda at Denham studios after his persistence at the studio gates and in writing finally got him his break in the movie industry ! In fact, later in his career Stuart found out that the reason his big break was so long coming was that many make-up artists were fearful of letting Stuart into their closed circles lest his exemplary ‘amateur’ work embarrass their own seasoned offerings !
|In 1947 Stuart went freelance and his career went from strength to strength. During this period he forged long lasting working relationships with iconic talents such as Peter Sellers, Richard Attenborough, Laurence Olivier & Alec Guiness to name but a few. Along with his Wife Kathy & son Graham, their work elevated the standards of the British make-up industry and shaped the perception of special make-up effects for generations of moviegoers. Their work literally redefined what was possible and many of the leading lights in the effects industry of today owe their skills to this man whose methods set the standard for the entire movie industry.|
Perhaps the pinnacle of Stuart’s achievements were his works on the “Dawn of man” sequence in Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” and, of course, his amazing creations for the Star Wars trilogy. Stuart recalls how, whilst working on “The Omen”, he was visited by an unassuming young man by the name of George Lucas who proffered a script for Stuart’s perusal. On his initial reading Stuart only made it half way through the script & wasn’t very impressed, however, he persevered & finally finished the script which tied up all the loose ends & led to Stuart accepting the position. The rest is history.
So, we return to where we started – “Stuart…Fix IT !!”
..and Stuart did indeed fix it, he fixed it so that millions of people world-wide could share in the fantastical visions of some of the most talented icons of the movie industry. His pioneering skills in his field and so much more, mark him as the true creative genius that he is.
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