"As a youth, watching
John Chambers' work in film make-up was what truly kicked my interest of
pursuing special effects make-up as a career into full-geer.
I had dabbled a bit with monster
make-up for fun prior to seeing Planet of the Apes, but once having seen
it, I was fascinated by the make-ups and how believable the characters
were. From that point on, I was hooked.
Many of my peers will say the
same thing, that the make-ups in Planet of the Apes were the deciding factor
in influencing them to pursue careers in the make-up effects industry.
Growing up, we always kept an eye out for anything Chambers was involved
in. Films, tv shows, anything in books and magazines, we couldn't
get enough of! We had a hunger to know what the "grand master" was
up to next. There is no doubt that he has inspired a generation of
make-up artists because of his incredible work.
And his influence has not been
limited to my generation. Even now, I get e-mail and letters from
fans all over the world (half my age), representing a new generation of
make-up artist and effects technicians who also credit Chambers as being
the man who's work has inspired them to "get into" prosthetic make-ups.
Many people know that John's
gift to film was great, but many may not know that he was also a hero outside
of the film world. John was a veteran of the armed forces and in
the 1970's, during the Iranian hostage crisis, the CIA approached John
to help them try and get Americans out of Iran. John set up a fictitious
film production company and was able to, from what I understand, set up
new identities and disguise 6 americans who were holed up in the Canadian
Embassy in Iran, and smuggled them out safely during the turbulent anti-American
days of that crisis. Real Mission Impossible stuff!!!
John had many sides to his career
and life. I only got to meet and know John in the last few years
of his life and he really was a remarkable person. Always happy to
have visitors and tell stories, I enjoyed every visit with him.
When we first met, just before Scott Essman organized his 75th birthday
party in 1997, the doctors had given John less than a year to live.
Thanx to the publicity from that the party, John received new exposure
resulting in friends and fans from all over the world re-discovering or
discovering for the first time who this man really was and what he had
done for so many. You should have seen his room transform from bare
walls to a shrine of gifts and fan letters in the years that followed the
party. It was amazing! And I know he appreciated it.
John said to me on many
occasions that he was very VERY thankful for all that we did for him with
that party, and that was evident in seeing him embrace a new lease on life.
He got away from the hospital/home for the first time in years and started
making public appearances again. It was so refreshing to see him
"out and about". I am happy to know that I had a small part
to play in all of that.
And I am happy to have known
the man who I am so indebted to for his influence on my life and career.
God Bless and Thank you, John.
Creative Director for
Make-up & Monsters Studios