A special-effects makeup pioneer whose creativity spawned some of the most-memorable effects in film and television history, John Chambers was the man behind both the monkey masks that thrilled audiences in the original Planet of the Apes and the infamous Vulcan ears that Leonard Nimoy donned in television's Star Trek.
Born in Chicago, IL, in 1923, Chambers first utilized his unique skills with sculpture and artistry to create artificial nose, ear, and shoulder replacements for soldiers wounded in WWII. Later deciding to shop his talents around Hollywood, he was soon hired by NBC and began frequent work in television. With credits including Lost in Space, Mission: Impossible, Wild Wild West, and Star Trek, it wasn't long before he began to consider feature work, and with 1958's Showdown at Boot Hill, his celluloid career was launched. His development of unique paints, pre-makeup procedures, and rubber appliances garnered Chambers an honorary Oscar, 12 years before such a category was created for the Academy Awards. With later credits including Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise (1974), as well as The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) and Halloween II (1981), Chambers continued his work and was noted for his constant innovation and unique style. On August 25, 2001, John Chambers died of diabetes complications at the Motion Picture and Television Fund retirement home in Woodland Hills, CA. He was 78.