Legendary make-up artist and Delamar tutor, Tom Smith

Legendary make-up artist and Delamar tutor, Tom Smith

Tom Smith is one of the Hollywood greats of make-up artistry, responsible for Jack Nicholson’s make-up in The Shining, Marilyn Monroe in The Prince & The Show Girl and Indiana Jones in Raiders of The Lost Ark. After a long career working on so many Hollywood Blockbusters, Tom trained students here at Delamar, as one of the first tutors our founder Penny brought into the school.


Delamar Academy’s Director, Leda, also had the privilege of being taught by Tom and recalled the time when he told the students about Marilyn Monroe’s constant pressure from producers to lose weight. He believed that Marilyn’s soft tummy was actually the sexiest thing about her.  


Amanda Warburton, a Delamar tutor was taught by Tom Smith over 20 years ago. She recalls her fond memories of his classes:


“I feel so privileged to be taught by Tom. Privilege is the one word I think many of us would use to describe it. He was a master of his craft, a real artist who would teach character make-up. Not casualty or special effects, but character make-up; it was his area of mastery. He could transform anyone into a completely different person.


Tom was a fine artist who started cleaning the floors at Pinewood Studios and moved on to doing the make-up on extras (we now have to call them “supporting artists” FYI). Tom told us that his work was only ever seen by the canteen ladies at this point, and never in the focus of the camera.”


Tom’s talents quickly became recognised, and he moved onto main actors.


Leda described how he was a true artist with minimal products in his kit, but the biggest abundance of talent.  


“Tom was the last of his generation, who were not any part of this consumerist driven trends. He did not have a glamorous outlook on the make-up industry, but lived for the work. His kit was very small and well used. Tom could sketch his character creations and he didn’t need much to create such unbelievable work.”


This blog post has come to spontaneous fruition after Academy Manager, Monika unearthed some of Tom’s drawings of Ben Kingsley as Ghandi. This was an iconic film that won 8 Oscars and 27 other awards.

What blows our minds, is how make-up products in the 1980’s were really not that great, yet Tom’s bald cap on Sir Ben Kingsley is virtually undetectable. The film sees Ghandi’s life from a young to an elderly man, made possible by Tom’s expert ageing work and often-experimental use of materials.


Take a look at these photos with the insightful knowledge that Sir Ben is fairer in complexion, he is actually wearing a bald cap and the grey/white hair is also achieved with make-up. The Oscar nomination for best make-up and hair was so well deserved.


You can check out Tom’s IMDB here.


Sadly Tom passed away some time ago. His spirit lives on in the leading make-up artists who were taught by him and who are also Delamar tutors today (Amanda Warburton and Brian Kinney). You can read about all of our tutors here.


If you are considering a career in make-up, please see our courses here.



We are still taking enrolments for 2022 and 2023 - start your career at the busiest time in the industry
Hello. Add your message here.