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Dave Elsey (born 9 February 1967) is an Academy and Saturn Award-winning artist known for special make-up effects, creature effects and animatronics in films such as X-Men: First Class, Ghost Rider, Star Wars, Hellraiser, Alien 3, and Indiana Jones . He was born on February 2, 1967 in London, England to Marie and Derek Elsey. From 1999 to 2011, Elsey lived in Sydney, Australia with his wife Lou[1] while working on the TV science fiction series Farscape.[2] He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

Dave Elsey
David Elsey

(1967-02-09) February 9, 1967 (age 52)
London, England, UK
OccupationMake-up effects, creature effects, animatronics
Years active1986-Present
Spouse(s)Lou Elsey




To view some of the classic and memorable characters created by Elsey, visit Dave's IGOR Studio webpage gallery at

Recent AchievementsEdit

Star Wars: Episode IIIEdit

Elsey, a huge Star Wars fan as a child, was elated to be given the opportunity in 2005 to work on the Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith movie. The work resulted in an Oscar nomination for the creature effects / make-up effects department: a first for that department on a Star Wars film.[3]

The WolfmanEdit

In 2010, Elsey and his long admired icon Rick Baker partnered up for the film "The Wolfman," winning an Academy Award.[4]

The Early YearsEdit

Mentors and Developing TechniqueEdit

Elsey's early childhood was filled with fascination and love for movies and special effects. When he was about ten or eleven, Elsey met Chris Tucker, a talented Make-up Artist who contributed significant work to films like Star Wars Episode IV, Quest For Fire, Phantom of the Opera, and Elephant Man.[5] Tucker mentored Elsey, showing him how to make various things like casting a face or sculpting prosthetics. Tucker shared with Elsey that when he was starting out, he used to make rubber noses for the makeup shop Charles H Fox, and they would sometimes pay him with makeup. Elsey followed in Tucker's footsteps and did the same thing; make-up was, and is very expensive, so it was good advice.

The industry was so secretive, and there were no good text books, plus it seemed at the time that he was the only kid he knew interested in monsters and makeup, so Elsey had to struggle to develop technique. He used to do things like study photos of makeup artists like Dick Smith in magazines, trying to figure out what materials were on their shelves in the background. Eventually an aunt recognized his talents, and allowed him to use a small room in her house as a workshop.

Idols and First BreaksEdit

Two pivotal movies he recalls seeing with his father in Leicester Square (West end of London, England) were King Kong (1976) and An American Werewolf in London (1981). After viewing the work of special make-up effects artist Rick Baker in both films, especially the latter, make-up effects became Elsey's career ambition. In 1983, at the age of sixteen, Elsey met Baker on the set of the film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. That meeting reaffirmed Elsey's plan to make makeup his career.

Dreams of working in the film industry started forming during visits to Pinewood Studios, Shepperton Studios, and Elstree Studios in various counties in England. Elsey frequently ran into Jim Henson (Sesame Street, The Muppets Show) while on the lot. He eventually met Lyle Conway who was Henson's creature shop designer on The Dark Crystal. After repeated requests for a job, Conway gave Elsey his first break in the industry, putting him to work creating animatronics for the movie Little Shop of Horrors. In the course of his work, Elsey made many of the special Vine effects as well as the tongue of alien plant Audrey II. The experience taught Elsey the art of using mechanical effects to create the illusion of life in puppetry. They did a lot of reverse shots, turned the camera upside down, changed camera speeds, and other things that most engineers wouldn't have considered as solutions. That movie went on to be nominated for an Oscar for the plant, and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1986.

Farscape, AustraliaEdit

In 1999, Elsey was asked to supervise the Australian branch of the Jim Henson's Creature Shop about two months before the series Farscape was launched. Although Rygel and Pilot were complete, a significant amount of characters were not designed yet. Elsey used the opportunity to create characters puppets and makeups using every technique he could think of, resulting in many intricate and visually stunning alien creatures cult fans came to love.[6]

Industry AwardsEdit


Year Film Credit
2017 *"Beauty and the Beast" Beast Designer & Creature Effects Supervisor
2015 *"Mr. Holmes" Makeup & Hair Designer
2014 *Wolves Creature Effects Creator/Supervisor
2011 *X-Men: First Class Beast Make-up Effects
2010 *The Wolfman Creature Effects Supervisor
2009 *Where the Wild Things Are Creature Effects Supervisor
2008 *Mutant Chronicles Creature Effects Supervisor
2007 *Ghost Rider Make-up Effects Supervisor
2006 *Black Sheep Creature Effects Supervisor
2005 *Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith Make-up Effects Supervisor
2000 *Mission: Impossible 2 Make-up Effects
1999 *My Life So Far (US: World of Moss) Make-up Effects Supervisor
1999 *Gregory's Two Girls Make-up Effects Supervisor
1998 *B. Monkey Make-up Effects Supervisor
1998 *The Wisdom of Crocodiles Make-up Effects Supervisor
1997 *The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition Make-up Effects Supervisor
1997 *Snow White:
A Tale of Terror (Snow White in the Black Forest)
Make-up Effects
1997 *Incognito Make-up Effects/ Animatronics
1997 *The Saint Make-up Effects
1996 *Mission: Impossible Make-up Effects
1995 *First Knight Make-up Effects Supervisor
1995 *The Passion of Darkly Noon Make-up Effects Supervisor
1995 *Funny Bones Make-up Effects
1994 *Death machine Make-up Effects Supervisor
1994 *Staggered [10] Make Up Effects Supervisor
1992 *Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth Make-up Effects/ Animatronics
1992 *Alien 3 Animatronics
1992 *Candyman Make-up Effects
1990 *The Witches Make-up Effects
1989 *Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Animatronics
1988 *Waxwork Make-up Effects
1987 *Hellraiser Make-up Effects/ Animatronics
1987 *On the black hill Make-up Effects Supervisor
1986 *Little Shop of Horrors Animatronics


Television CommercialsEdit

  • Allied Dunbar – ‘Grim Reaper’ (1997)[12] | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Angel Delight – Moosehead | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Bonaqua – Chicken | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Bonaqua – ‘Mermaid’ | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • Bosch – Handtools | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • Campbells – Malcolm meatball | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Conservative Party ‘evil eyes’ | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • Der Spiegal – ‘Aliens’ | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Golden Wonder -Nik Naks Alien | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Heart fm – ‘Alien’ | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Mc Donalds – Cavemen | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • NAB – Yeti | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • NSPCC – ‘Foetus’ | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • Nike – Good Vs Evil: Demon[13] | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Nike – ‘History’ | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • Pirelli – Goddess | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Pizza Hut – ‘Klingons’[14] | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • Ronseal Tiles – Pelican | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Slotts Mustard[15] | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Tabboo – Tango Football ‘Hell’ | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • USPS – Monster | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • VB – Shane Warne characters | Make Up Effects Supervisor
  • Westlights | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Xbox – Demon | Creature Effects Supervisor
  • Yellow Pages – Clown | Make Up Effects Supervisor

Music Promos and StillsEdit


  1. ^ "Lou Elsey". Fabrication Supervisor on Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Dave Elsey wins make-up Oscar for The Wolfman'". Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "The 78th Academy Awards (2006) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  4. ^ "The 83rd Academy Awards (2011) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  5. ^ "Christopher Tucker's Official Make-up Site". Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "Dave Elsey, The Jim Henson Creature Shop". Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  7. ^ "Make-Up Supervisor Dave Elsey Talks X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and David Hayter's Directorial Debut WOLVES; Says 'It's Very Violent and Bloody'". Collider. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  8. ^ "The 83rd Academy Awards (2011) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  9. ^ "The 78th Academy Awards (2006) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  10. ^ "Staggered (1994)". Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  11. ^ "Mark Speight - The Toon Room 1996". YouTube. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  12. ^ "Allied Dunbar: Grim Reaper". Allied Dunbar. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "Nike Soccer Commercial - Good vs. Evil". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  14. ^ "Pizza Hut - Klingon (1994, UK)". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  15. ^ "slotts mustard". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  16. ^ "Massive Attack - Teardrop". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  17. ^ "Aphex Twin - Come To Daddy (official video) 1080p HD". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Bluetones -- Marblehead Johnson (DVD- 'Beat About The Bush: Live at Shepherd's Bush Empire')". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "Blur - Girls & Boys". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  20. ^ "Leftfield/Bambaataa - Afrika Shox". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  21. ^ "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2014.

External linksEdit