TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — John Caglione may be most well known for doing Heath Ledger’s makeup in “The Dark Knight.” He also has ties to the Capital Region.
Caglione grew up in Troy and graduated from Troy High School in 1976. He became interested in makeup when he was around 15 years old after he saw “The Exorcist” and started putting monster makeup on himself.
Caglione sent a letter to Warner Bros. Studio for Dick Smith, the makeup artist on “The Exorcist.” After being rerouted to Smith in Westchester County, he answered the letter, called Caglione on the phone, and they started a correspondence.
After Caglione graduated high school, Smith recommended him to NBC in New York City. Caglione worked as a makeup artist on “Saturday Night Live” for seven seasons, working on other shows in between.
From “SNL,” Caglione moved on to work on horror films, doing special effects makeup. He helped Smith with the movie “Scanners,” and worked on “Basket Case,” “Amityville 3-D,” “C.H.U.D.” and “Poltergeist III.”
He then moved into doing character makeup for movies, working on the Warren Beatty film “Dick Tracy.” This film won Caglione the Academy Award, the British Academy Award, and the Science Fiction Film Award for Best Makeup in 1990.
Through “Dick Tracy,” Caglione met actor Al Pacino. He was Pacino’s makeup artist on several projects including “Angels in America,” “You Don’t Know Jack,” “The Irishman,” “Hunters,” and more.
In 2009, Caglione earned an Academy Award nomination for transforming Heath Ledger into The Joker in “The Dark Knight.” “It’s those movies and those actors that make me more well-known,” said Caglione.
When asked about working with all these famous actors, Caglione said, “You do have to pinch yourself sometimes. There’s always going to be that fan inside me that I never want to part with.”
More recently, Caglione worked on the film “Cabrini” with John Lithgow and David Morse. The film is directed by “Sound of Freedom” director Alejandro Monteverde and is set to be released in March.
Caglione also started The Makeup Artist’s Workshop, where he teaches online classes with students and travels to give demos of his work. Classes include beauty makeup, prosthetics, and more.
Although Caglione no longer lives in Troy, he resides in Long Island with his wife of 44 years. After working in the film industry for so long, Caglione isn’t slowing down.
“I feel like I’m better now than ever before,” said Caglione. “I have no plans to retire. This is too much fun.”