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Tom Savini is an American special effects artist, stuntman, actor and film director. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 3rd, 1946, Savini was inspired by the works of legendary makeup artist Dick Smith whose pioneering effects helped to transform young Linda Blair into the demon-possessed eleven-year-old Regan MacNeil in William Friedkin's The Exorcist.

Savini was originally hired to work with director George Romero on his 1968 zombie film Night of the Living Dead, but was drafted into the Army where he served as a combat photographer in Vietnam. This experience not only changed Savini's life, but his career as well. Returning to the United States, he had put together a scrap book containing photographs of injured soldiers, which later provided Savini with the template that he would use when crafting effects of extreme anatomical gore.

Savini's first professional film work was doing makeup effects in the 1974 crime-thriller Deranged. Savini was then able to bring his experiences in Vietnam to greater detail that same year in the zombie-war movie Dead of Night. Though he may have missed his opportunity to work with Romero on the original Night of the Living Dead, Savini made up for it by doing the zombie effects on Romero's 1978 sequel, Dawn of the Dead.

In 1979, Tom Savini and his protégé Taso Stavrakis were hired to work on Sean S. Cunningham's slasher film Friday the 13th. Savini did the makeup effects that turned young Ari Lehman into the gruesome, malformed Jason Voorhees. Savini also designed the effect for a scene where Kevin Bacon is killed by an arrowhead slowly piercing his throat from behind. The climax of the film saw the heroine Alice Hardy (played by Adrienne King) decapitating the psychotic murderer Pamela Voorhees. Though King may go down in history as the one who took out Mrs. Voorhees, it was actually Tom Savini who swung the machete, liberating Pamela's head from her neck. His work on Friday the 13th was considered revolutionary for the time and turned Savini into a special effects super-star.

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