John Caglione Jr. has had an illustrious career as a makeup artist – over the past 40 years, his hands and creative genius have helped create new worlds and tell powerful stories on screen.
John is credited on over 80 shows and movies, helping to create iconic characters like Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (which earned him an Academy Award) and Heath Ledger’s The Joker (for which earned him another Oscar nomination). John’s work has also influenced many more incredible movies and shows, including Saturday Night Live, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Angels in America, The Sopranos, and Donnie Brasco.
Without John (and all of the other makeup, tech, and effects people out there), these modern stories couldn’t happen; the silver screen wouldn’t impact and move audiences in the same magical way.
John knew he wanted to be a makeup artist when he was just 14-years-old, after watching The Exorcist. He became a fan of Dick Smith, who John still believes is the great makeup artist of all time.
John eventually started a correspondence with Dick Smith, which grew into a mentor-mentee relationship. This “miraculous” series of events came at just the right time in John’s life, as his family was kind of falling apart.
In one phone call, Dick Smith’s generosity changed the entire dynamic of John’s life. “People really think about this master’s work, but one thing that I always think about him… was his love for his fellow man. He was so in touch with people and their lives – it was beyond the work, really.”
John has carried that mindset through his own career, and it’s paid off. Caring about people and focusing on the personal relationships (with Al Pacino, specifically) got him his shot at Dick Tracy, then his skill got him the job. And since then (1990), John is the only makeup artist that Al Pacino will work with.
“What I’ve learned, in my old age, is that we really have to care for each other, as much as possible… There’s work and art and business, and that’s good, but it’s all wrapped around me and you, here, right at this moment.”
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