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Ken Niederbaumer is a Hollywood makeup artist who worked on 2009's Star Trek. Hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, Niederbaumer became interested in special effects makeup while attending high school in Cincinatti, Ohio. Upon graduating, he moved to Hollywood, California, to pursue a professional makeup career.
Like his fellow Star Trek makeup artist Richard Redlefsen (with whom he worked on several other projects), Niederbaumer attended Elegance International School of Makeup in Hollywood. He began working on feature films almost immediately upon completion of the school's twelve-month program.
From the early 1990s up until 2007, Niederbaumer's makeup work consisted almost entirely of independent features. One of his earliest was the 1993 crime drama Double Exposure, starring future Star Trek Nemesis actor Ron Perlman. For the 1995 horror movie Screamers, starring Peter Weller, he took part in the construction of the title creatures. He followed this with makeup work on such films as Where Truth Lies (starring John Savage, Kim Cattrall, Malcolm McDowell, and Eric Pierpoint), Girls Will Be Girls, Monster Man, Vegas Vampires (co-written and directed by Fred Williamson and featuring Bernie Casey and Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr.), The Storyteller (featuring Michael Berryman and Dina Meyer), Chupacabra Terror (starring John Rhys-Davies), Demon Hunter, Devil's Den, and Sublime.
As he continued doing makeup for independent productions, Niederbaumer began working as a special effects technician on major studio films such as Men in Black, Starship Troopers, The X-Files, Alien: Resurrection (starring Winona Ryder, Brad Dourif, and Ron Perlman), My Favorite Martian (starring Christopher Lloyd, Wallace Shawn, and Ray Walston), X2 (starring Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, and Bruce Davison), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Hellboy (starring Ron Perlman), and Underworld: Evolution. For 2006's blockbuster hit Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Niderbaumer was not only an effects technician but a makeup artist, as well – his first makeup work for a major studio film.