Matthew W. Mungle's Biography

Matthew applying make-up to Jack Nicholson for "The Bucket List".

Matthew applying make-up to Jack Nicholson for "The Bucket List".

Academy Award winner Matthew W. Mungle is regarded as one of Hollywood's premier make-up special effects artists. With over 200 film and television projects to his credit, Matthew has earned accolades and recognition as one of the industry's top masters of makeup effects illusion.

Born in Durant, Oklahoma in 1956, Matthew was one of five children born to Atoka dairy farmer Jene and Becky Mungle. As a boy he recalls seeing "Frankenstein," "Dracula" and "The Mummy." He was fascinated with the make-up, often times "borrowing" his mother's cosmetics to create his own version of horror. As he got older, he would send away for theatrical make-up from New York and Dallas specialty stores — experimenting with face casts and prosthetics on willing family members and friends. Although his parents thought it was a phase he would soon outgrow, Matthew knew differently. In 1964 with the release of "The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao," Matthew credits the film as having been his greatest influence and deciding factor in becoming a special make-up effects artist.

In 1968, a film that would revolutionize make-up effects and further impact the small town boy from Atoka was the release; "Planet of the Apes." It's hard to say how many times Matthew saw the film. What he did know was that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his idols, namely Lon Chaney, Sr., Jack Pierce and John Chambers, who won the Academy Award for the specialized make-up effects for "Planet of the Apes”.

When he Matthew was in High School “Return to the Planet of the Apes" was released, he encouraged the owner of the local movie theatre to let him dress up as one of the chimpanzees to promote the film. Not only did he dress the part but also created his own prosthetics. The realism was so startling to the small town of Atoka, that many thought Hollywood had sent an actor to hype the film!

Matthew graduated from Atoka High School in 1975. Although his sights were still on Hollywood, at his father's insistence, he applied and was accepted into Oklahoma State University as a theatre art major. Working with props and make-up for various productions, Matthew eagerly absorbed the educational tools being given.

Matthew on the set of CSI:

Matthew on the set of CSI:

Matthew finally arrived in Hollywood in 1977. Matthew applied and was accepted into Joe Blasco's Make-Up Center - the premiere academy responsible for training many of the film and television industry's elite make-up artists.  He finally arrived in Hollywood late in 1977 and began his education from February to May of 1978.  "From the beginning Matthew showed exceptional talent!" claims Blasco, whose one career as a top make-up artist turned educator, has been instrumental in graduating Academy Award winners.  "I instinctively knew that Matthew had what it takes to become a success in this business.  His dedication to the art form and rapid ability to master the craft led me to hire him as an instructor following his graduation from my school in 1978.  He stayed on-staff until his own popularity as a working make-up artist became too demanding".

Matthew credits Joe Blasco with his professional start in the industry. "I was a sponge, absorbing every ounce of knowledge I could. Whether learning the techniques of beauty make-up or casting molds and working with prosthetics, I wanted to be as versatile as I could”. Today, Matthew is a veteran voice to up-and-coming artists hoping to find their own niche in the industry. "If you want to be a working make-up artist, then you need to learn and perfect all areas of the craft”.

Matthew's professional career began creating Special Make-up Effects on low-budget projects such as THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, THE POWER and THE KINDRED which taught him to think quickly on his feet.  He Department Headed several films, WAR PARTY, SPLIT DECISION and NAVY SEALS from 1987 to 1989 but his first major success was on EDWARD SCISSORHANDS in 1990. Twenty-three years later, Matthew has accumulated an impressive list of credits and an equally impressive genre of box office successes including: BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, earning him his first Oscar in 1992; SCHINDLER'S LIST, giving him another nomination in 1993; creating Arnold's pregnancy stomach in the comedy spoof JUNIOR; tackling special make-up effects for OUTBREAK, CONGO, PRIMAL FEAR, and aging James Woods to 72 in GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI, which earned him his 3rd Oscar nomination in 1996.  his transformation of Glen Close and Janet McTeer in ALBERT NOBBS earned him his fourth Oscar nomination in 2011.  

Aging has become one of Matthew's strongest calling cards and an area of make-up effects that's definitely challenging. His fascination with artificially making someone young look old prompted him to research more viable methods, such as with gelatin, which was first used in the 1930's but later abandoned when the hot lights caused it to melt. With today's less intense lighting and faster film, Matthew has resurrected the semi translucent substance, which when applied looks and moves like real skin. "I've made it a part of my craft to see how skin moves. I'm intrigued with how women and men age differently. Both get jowls and tend to get that fold of skin over the top lid of the eyes and bags under the eyes. However, men's ear lobes get longer and women's skin gets wrinkly and translucent”.

Matthew touching up Drew Barrymore on "Charlie's Angels 2".

Matthew touching up Drew Barrymore on "Charlie's Angels 2".

Matthew's expertise in this highly-specialized area of make-up effects created a vast field of job opportunities in both film and TV --- HBO's CITIZEN COHN, starring James Woods and earning him his first Emmy in 1993. Another nomination followed in 1997 for MISS EVERS' BOYS. Two more nominations were earned in 1998 --- TNT's WALLACE and ABC's OLIVER TWIST and in 1999 for his work on TNT's HOUDINI. In 2000, Matthew was the recipient of his Local's first annual Local 706 Make-up and Hair Award for his work on ABC's THE BEAT GOES ON.

In 2000, Matthew was hired on X-FILES for special make-up and prosthetic designs. A coup to his already long list of credits, Matthew entered the show's 8th season and promptly won an Emmy in 2001 for the episode, DEAD ALIVE. Within weeks of the show's final airing (May, 2002), Matthew was hired to work on CBS's C.S.I. MIAMI and PRESIDIO MED. Even with a demanding schedule, Matthew found time to work on TNT's DOOR-TO-DOOR, which earned him an Emmy in 2003. In 2006, Matthew took home his fourth Emmy for his work in HBO's final episode of SIX FEET UNDER. In 2008, Matthew earned his fifth & sixth Emmy for TRACEY ULLMAN’S STATE OF THE UNION and JOHN ADAMS. To date Matthew has been honored with 26 EMMY nominations. With a full film and TV schedule, Matthew continues his work on C.S.I. (CBS), NCIS (CBS) and the new WGN hit series "Salem".

His impressive list of film credits include such box office hits as creating Brendan Fraser's many character looks in BEDAZZLED; PAY IT FORWARD with Kevin Spacey; RED DRAGON; Fox's DAREDEVIL; ANCHORMAN (DreamWorks), Warner Bros.; THE PUNISHER; Ovation Entertainment's HOUSE OF D with Robin Williams; SKELETON KEY, POLAR EXPRESS, THE OMEN, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, THE BUCKET LIST, INCEPTION, THE TEMPEST, THE CHANGE-UP, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, ALBERT NOBBS with Glenn Close and Janet McTeer and “THE BUTLER” aging Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey along with creating historical Presidents on well-known Actors.

One of Matthew's greatest challenges is with the hit Broadway show WICKED, creating the prosthetic face masks for the production's various characters. Balancing his film and TV projects, Matthew continues his work for the show's Broadway, U.S. tours and Japan productions.

In 1999, Matthew conducted a 3-day seminar on advanced prosthetics for SCREEN TRAINING IRELAND in Dublin and in June 2000 was a featured guest lecturer aboard the Q.E.II.

He's appeared on a wide variety of TV shows including Discovery Channel's MEGA, MEGA MOVIE MAGIC where he aged a 12-year-old girl into an 80-year-old woman! BBC's TALK OF THE TOWN, a highly rated and popular London-based magazine shows. He's been interviewed for TURNER ENTERTAINMENT REPORT, E! ENTERTAINMENT NEWS, THE MORNING SHOW, FX DAILIES, CNN, GOOD DAY L.A., Japan's CH. 5 NEWS NETWORKS, INSIDE EDITION and ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT. His interview can also be seen on the behind-the-scenes trailer for the 8th and 9th season episodes of "X-FILES" for video and DVD release and “CSI” behind-the-scenes on DVD release. Matthew's was most recently featured on CBS SUNDAY MORNING.

 

UPDATE:  Matthew was honored with a "Film ICON Award" at Oklahoma's Dead Center Film Festival in June 2014.

 


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