18 June 2008

Stan Winston 1946–2008

This came as a shock to me: Stan Winston, famed visual effects man and creature-creator, died Sunday at age 62.

The name “Stan Winston” is inextricably linked with cinema of the fantastic. This master of practical effects and animatronics could make a significant claim as the first carrier of the Ray Harryhausen legacy of creating the beasts that live in our cinematic dreams. He crafted the metal skeleton Terminator, the robotic dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, the Predator, the alien queen in Aliens, the rocket pack penguins in Batman Returns, and most recently worked on Iron Man. If you wanted imaginative, quality practical effects in Hollywood, everybody knew that you went to Stan Winston. He was the Man.

The world of special effects is a bit less special now.