Visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull is one of the visual effects masterminds behind some of the most visually daring sci-fi films ever made, including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Blade Runner , “he died Monday of complications from mesothelioma. He was 79 years old.
His daughter Amy wrote on Facebook. He had cancer, a brain tumor, and a stroke.
“My sister Andromeda and I met him on Saturday to tell him he loves him and we need to tell him to enjoy and embrace his journey into a great afterlife,” she wrote.
He shared Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects for Close Encounters, Star Trek: The Movie and Blade Runner.
Trumbull also oversaw the visual effects for Silent Run, Andromeda and Star Trek: The Movie, and he directed the eco-sci-fi films Silent Run and Natalie Wood’s Brainstorm.
Trumbull also developed Universal Studios’ Back to the Future: The Ride simulator and helped introduce Imax to the entertainment market.
In addition to being known for creating special effects for classic sci-fi films, Trumbull invented and patented dozens of cinematic tools and techniques, from motion-controlled photography to micro-compositing.
In 1993, he shared the Academy Science and Engineering Award for the concept (Trumbull), motion design (Williamson), electronic design (Auguste) and camera system (DiGuilio) of the CP-65 Showscan camera system for 65mm film photography, This is the first modern 65mm camera to be developed in 25 years. In 2012, he received the Academy’s Gordon E. Sawyer Award, an Oscar awarded “to a person whose technical contributions to the film industry have received industry recognition.”
Announcing that the festival would honor him in 2013, Locarno Film Festival Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian said: “Trumbull always knew how to look a little further than others. It puts him close to the great artisans of cinema. Directors like Kubrick, Spielberg, Scott and Malick have always wanted him by their side to help them realize their thirst for innovation.”