Hollywood legend Stan Winston, the Oscar-winning special-effects maestro responsible for bringing the dinosaurs of Jurrasic Park and other iconic movie creatures to life, has died. He was 62.
According to a representative from Stan Winston Studio, Winston died at his home in Malibu surrounded by family on Sunday evening after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma.
Working with such directors as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Tim Burton in a career spanning four decades, Winston is responsible for some of Tinseltown’s most famous creatures and effects including The Terminator and the Aliens. He also came up with the design of the Predator and worked on films like Edward Scissorhands and Iron Man and was a pioneer in merging real-world effects with computer imaging.
Winner of four Academy Awards, Winston was a pioneer in the field constantly pushing the envelope of movie magic to new heights. Whether it be exemplary creature effects, prosthetics work or helping to pave the way for the melding of physical and computer trickery Winston was there, leading the pack. Highly thought of in the industry, his mark of excellence was only exceeded by his gracious spirit and love for the craft.
“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.”
Winston won visual effects Oscars for 1986’s Aliens, 1992’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day and 1993’s Jurassic Park. He also won a makeup Oscar for 1992’s Batman Returns.
Winston was nominated for his work on Heartbeeps, Predator, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and A.I.
He last worked with director Jon Favreau on Iron Man.
“He was experienced and helped guide me while never losing his childlike enthusiasm,” Favreau said in a statement. “He was the king of integrating practical effects with CGI, never losing his relevance in an ever changing industry. I am proud to have worked with him and we were looking forward to future collaborations. I knew that he was struggling, but I had no idea that he would be gone so soon. Hollywood has lost a shining star.”
At the time of his death, Winston 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. Winton’s most recent projects included Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, G.I. Joe, Shutter Island and Cameron’s Avatar.
“He ran at full throttle, in both work and play, and was a man of kindness, wisdom and great humor,” Cameron said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “He was a kid that never grew up, whose dreams were writ large on the screens of the world. I am proud to have been his friend, and I will miss him very deeply.”
As a child growing up in Virginia, Winston enjoyed drawing, puppetry and classic horror films. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville in 1968, Winston moved to Southern California to become an actor but instead worked behind the scenes and completed a three-year makeup apprenticeship program at Walt Disney Studios in 1972.
Winston passed away at his home on Sunday evening. Winston is survived by his wife, Karen; a son, daughter, brother and four grandchildren.