Stuart Freeborn At Work: Turning Alec Guinness Into Fagan
A tribute to the late, great makeup artist
With the death of the great Stuart Freeborn, cinema has lost a true pioneer. Born on the same patch of Leytonstone as Alfred Hitchcock, he made a name for himself in the same gilded era of British cinema, working with Korda, Powell and Pressburger, before turning his eye for character design and prosthetics to big Hollywood blockbusters - Superman and Star Wars among them.
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George Lucas has acclaimed "his artistry and craftsmanship [that] will live on forever in the characters he created", and we've cast our eye back over one of them: Alec Guinness's Fagin in Oliver Twist. Freeborn's hooked nose, straggly hair and heavy prosthetics were deliberately styled to exaggerate the character's sheer Dickensian grotesqueness and make him larger-than-life. With David Lean and the 34 year-old Guinness, he created a controversial but indelible character.