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John Chambers
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    (September 12, 1922-August 25, 2001)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Hollywood makeup artist
    Best known for his prosthetic makeup on the ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise and for designing Spock’s pointed ears for Star Trek
    Also worked on the films ‘The List of Adrian Messenger’ (1963), ‘Cat Ballou’ (1965), ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ (1972), ‘Sssssss’ (1973), ‘Phantom of the Paradise’ (1974), ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ (1977), and ‘Halloween II’ (1981)
    Worked on the TV series ‘Shirley Temple Theater,’ ‘The Outer Limits,’ ‘The Munsters,’ ‘Mission Impossible,’ and ‘Lost in Space’
    Set up a fake film production company to provide the cover story for ‘the Canadian caper’ in which the CIA smuggled six American embassy personnel out of Iran by disguising them as members of a Canadian film crew (1980)
    Portrayed by John Goodman in the film ‘Argo’ (2012)
    He did most of his work from his garage at home rather than at the studio.
    The first pair of Spock ears he designed were painful to wear; Leonard Nimoy complained so much that Gene Roddenberry agreed to let Spock undergo plastic surgery if the prosthetics did not improve.
    He spent so much time at the Los Angeles Zoo studying monkeys in preparation for ‘Planet of the Apes’ that visitors began treating him as one of the attractions.
    He could not talk about his involvement in the Canadian caper for over a decade and a half until it was declassified.
    He served as a dental technician with the US Army during World War II.
    After the war, he designed artificial ears, noses, chins and other facial prosthetics for injured veterans.
    He was married to Joan Aline for 51 years.
    For ‘Planet of the Apes,’ he developed a new type of foam rubber that allowed heat and sweat to pass through the pores; older types trapped moisture, producing discomfort for the actors and often causing the prosthetics to peel off.
    He received an honorary Oscar for his work on ‘Planet of the Apes’ (since makeup would not become a regular Oscar category until more than a decade later).
    He was the first makeup artist with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
    He received the Intelligence Medal of Merit from the CIA for his assistance in the Canadian caper.

Credit: C. Fishel


 
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