Monday, June 16, 2008

Obituary - Stan Winston

For the last few decades even with CGI replacing many of the traditional effects once undertaken by a team of model-makers, the best directors including Spielberg, Cameron, Burton and Favreau have turned to Stan Winston as his famous "Creature Shop".

Sadly, the life of this great artist has been extinguished many years ahead of his time as news of his death at 62 after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma, has just reached me from a loyal reader.

Winston was the the Oscar-winning special-effects wizard responsible for bringing the dinosaurs of the Jurrasic Park to life, terrorised us with the frightening realisation of Cameron's nightmare: The Terminator, gave an Oscar-Winning physical form to the illustrations of H.R. Giger in Aliens and created the iconic form of the Predator (while on a plane with Jim Cameron while working on Aliens) and most recently delighted hard-core comic-book fans with a picture-perfect three dimensional rendition of Adi Granov's design for Iron Man's armour.

His other credits included T2: Judgment Day, A.I. Artificial Intelligence for which he received additional Oscars, Constantine, Pearl Harbor, End Of Days, Small Soldiers and Batman Returns. Winston was also the second special effects artist ever to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He was in the process of transforming his physical makeup and effects studio into the new Winston Effects Group with a team of senior effects supervisors and working on some of Hollywood's most anticipated projects, including Jurassic Park IV, G.I.Joe, Terminator 4: The Future Begins and James Cameron's Avatar.

"The entertainment industry has lost a genius, and I lost one of my best friends with the death Sunday night of Stan Winston," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Stan's work and four Oscars speak for themselves and will live on forever. What will live forever in my heart is the way that Stan loved everyone and treated each of his friends like they were family."

I'm confident that the abilities, vision and spirit of Stan Winston will live on in the VFX masters he has trained and left behind. May he rest in peace; confident of the extraordinary mark he has left on the world.

Click here for a tribute video of Stan Winston's Work on YouTube.


Andrew Glazebrook said...

Really sad news, so many wonderful creations in some great SF and Horror films over the years. An FX God !! I always wished he'd directed more as I really liked Pumkinhead !

Bruce Russell said...

Stan was a really accomplished guy, not to mention a fellow graduate (along with yours truly) of the University of Virginia. I had the pleasure of meeting him, and can say he was both a gentleman and a scholar.