Academy Award® winner MATTHEW W. MUNGLE (for Best Make-Up, DRACULA) (Special Prosthetics Effects) is regarded as one of Hollywood's premier make-up special effects artists. With over 100 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 make-up special effects artist.
In 1968, a film that would revolutionize make-up special effects and further impact the small town boy from Atoka, was the release of "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 mentors, 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."
In high school, Matthew worked at the local movie theatre. When "Return to the Planet of the Apes" was released, he encouraged the owner to let him dress up to promote the film. Not only did he dress the part, but he created his own prosthetics to look the part of a chimpanzee. 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 arts major. Working with props and make-up for various productions, Matthew eagerly absorbed the educational tools being given.
Matthew finally arrived in Hollywood in 1977. In 1978 he applied and was accepted into Joe Blasco's Make-up Center --- the premier academy responsible for training many of the film and television industry's elite make-up artists. "From the very beginning, Matthew showed exceptional talent!" claims Blasco, whose own 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 on low-budget projects that taught him to think quick on his feet. His first major success was on “Edward Scissorhands” in 1990. Sixteen 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.
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 nearly-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 creepy and translucent."
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, “DeadAlive.” 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 and USA Network's “Rudy Giuliani Story,” earning him yet another nomination. In 2006, Matthew took home his fourth Emmy for his work in HBO's final episode of “Six Feet Under.” With a full film and TV schedule, Matthew continues his work on “C.S.I.” and “Navy: NCIS” (CBS).
His impressive list of film credits include such box office hits as “The Perfect Storm;” creating Brendan Fraser's many character looks in “Bedazzled;” “Pay it Forward” with Kevin Spacey; Universal's action film “The Fast and the Furious;” “Red Dragon,” “Cradle to the Grave,” Fox’s “Daredevil;” “Anchorman,” “The Punisher,” “House of D” with Robin Williams; “Collateral,” “Skeleton Key,” “Meet the Fockers,” “Monster-in-Law,” “Polar Express,” “The Omen,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Poseidon,” “Epic Movie” and “Love in the Time of Cholera.”
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. tour, Japan and Los Angeles 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!, and BBC's “Talk of the Town,” a highly-rated and popular London-based magazine show. He's also been interviewed for Turner Entertainment Report, E! Entertainment News, The Morning Show, FX Dailies, CNN, Good Day LA, and Japan’s “Ch. 5 News Network.”