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Special Effects Wizard Stan Winston Dead At 62 93

Dusty101 writes "Special effects maestro Stan Winston has died at the age of 62. Winston was responsible for many of the physical special effects in films such as The Terminator, Jurassic Park, Edward Scissorhands, and Iron Man. Winston died on Sunday, June 15, 2008, after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma."
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Special Effects Wizard Stan Winston Dead At 62

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... that's just a special effect.

    Right? :(
  • Very Sad (Score:5, Informative)

    by NormAtHome ( 99305 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:30AM (#23821631)
    The man was truly gifted at his profession, one movie not mentioned and among my all time favorites is "Aliens" the James Cameron follow up to Alien.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You have to mention his work in Aliens and Predator.
    • I had visions of him sitting on a (not very convincing looking) cloud with Ray Harryhausen, who's giving him one of those "Bah! Back in my day..." speeches.

      Though it seems Ray's still alive. Or perhaps somebody just keeps moving him a little bit from time to time.
      • Re:Very Sad (Score:4, Informative)

        by NormAtHome ( 99305 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @11:35AM (#23823879)
        That would be funny. Ray Harryhausen was a pioneer in the field (and as far as I know still alive at 87) but in those days his art wasn't recognized for what it was, no Academy award nominations (according to IMDB) for special effects. Stan Winston had nine nominations (again Academy Awards) and three wins as well as multiple Saturn and other nominations and awards.
        • and as far as I know still alive at 87

          I checked before making the post above. That's checked as in looked at Wikipedia. I didn't go round to his house or anything.

          in those days his art wasn't recognized for what it was, no Academy award nominations

          That's bad, couldn't they at least give him one for lifetime achievement or something? We should do a petition.

          "We, the undersigned, think Ray Harryhausen should get a lifetime achievement award for his special effects. Especially those skeletons."

          • Actually I have to clarify my previous post, Ray Harryhausen was awarded an Oscar. It was the "Gordon E. Sawyer Award" and you can see the details and other recipients here:
            The Gordon E. Sawyer Award [oscars.org]

            This is something like a lifetime achievement award for technical contributions and it's not awarded every year. I'm glad that he got it but unlike Stand Winston he was never nominated for "Best Visual Effects" during his most productive years. Which is also sad because during the years when he was doing his bes
    • by jamrock ( 863246 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @11:42AM (#23824005)
      "Aliens", for which Stan won his first Oscar, is the first movie mentioned in the first sentence of the Wired article linked to in the summary. All the other news sources I've read, BBC News, Los Angeles Times, NY Times et al, mention "Aliens" prominently. And you've got good taste: "Aliens" is also among my all time favorite films. I'm deeply saddened by his passing. I remember seeing an interview with him about 10 years ago, during which he took the interviewer on a tour of his vast workshops, and apart from the fascinating and voluminous collection stored there, the thing that struck me most about Stan was his incredibly playful sense of humor. I laughed out loud at his clowning around, and couldn't help thinking that he would have been a great deal of fun to work with. He will be sorely missed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NormAtHome ( 99305 )
        Sorry, I meant in the "Slashdot" recap where they only mention "The Terminator, Jurassic Park, Edward Scissorhands, and Iron Man".

        Aliens was one of those rare movies that just combined so many great talents, Director, Production People, Actors, Special Effects, Writers etc. and the result was such an incredible thrill ride. At the time I remember thinking that it was one of the greatest movies I'd ever seen and I must have seen it six or eight times in the theater.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jamrock ( 863246 )

          I couldn't agree with you more about "Aliens". I was (and remain) thrilled by this film, and I think that it's by far James Cameron's finest effort (my wife and her friends think I'm some sort of heretic because I despised "Titanic"). I have at this moment open beside my computer "Aliens: The Official Movie Magazine", which I hastened to buy when it went on sale in 1986. It's still in mint condition 22 years later, and is one of my treasured collector's items. It gives behind-the-scenes details of the film

  • The world will miss his genius.

    I think somewhere Leonardo is crying.
    • I think about 90% of how I think of the future is down to him and Syd Mead. Thanks for everything Mr. W.
    • by JJNess ( 1238668 )
      Indeed. His dinosaurs scared the crap out of me before I even know about Terminators or Aliens or Predators. I still have my Jurassic Park trading cards with the Stan Winston subset featuring his designs. I shall dust them off tonight in his memory.
    • by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

      I think somewhere Leonardo is crying.
      the artist or the ninja turtle?
  • by zeromorph ( 1009305 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:38AM (#23821699)
    Multiple myeloma [wikipedia.org]:

    is a type of cancer of plasma cells which are immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies. Myeloma is regarded as incurable, but remissions may be induced with steroids, chemotherapy, thalidomide and stem cell transplants. Myeloma is part of the broad group of diseases called hematological malignancies.
    • Just if any one else wonders.....

      ouch, sorry, I think I grammared my damage.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer of plasma cells which are immune system cells in bone marrow that produce antibodies.

      Argh, my eyes! This sentence hurts them, precious, it does. We hates it, we hates it forever!

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, my dad was diagnosed with it two years ago, it's an incurable blood cancer. He went in for a routine physical exam, they found high protein levels in his blood, and after more testing he got a diagnosis. :( It's also what Roy Scheider had, and Geraldine Ferraro has it as well. Anyone wishing to make a donation to help fight it should consider the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (http://www.multiplemyeloma.org/), they're an excellent charity that funds research for treatments for the disease. Th
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        My father has had multiple myeloma since 2004. He, too, has gone through the experimental treatments (though Cleveland here). The main miracle drugs have been Revlimid and Velcade. Sadly, they aren't working anymore.
    • I have a great aunt that died from it, and a younger aunt that had it -- as in past tense. She went through the chemo, and I don't think she had a bone marrow transplant, but appears to have been cured according to her doctors. It's really not well understood.
    • by MsGeek ( 162936 )
      I don't have to wonder. I lost my husband to it in March.
      • I lost my mom to it in December.

        Multiple Myeloma is a horrible, horrible thing to watch a loved one go through, especially if you're the primary carevgiver.

        I'm right there with ya, MsGeek.

  • Multiple Myeloma (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:38AM (#23821707)
    Chances are he probably died from an infection(not actually the cancer). Multiple myeloma in late stages heavily suppress all bone marrow tissue(that means your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.) People with Multiple myeloma over-produc non-functional antibody side chains from malignant plasma cells. This impairs immune response and causes renal failure, making them extra susceptible to infections(more so than other cancers).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My Mom was diagnosed with it in November and was gone by March and it went down exactly as you described. While she was certainly on the short end of the scale, 7 years is a long fight with this killer. (My Mom was 62 as well)

      One off topic thing that I learned. If you have a loved one with something like this ask the hard questions of your Doctor. They usually wont tell you how much time they think is left unless you drill down. Don't settle for a general awnser. I was told 6 months at one point and she was
      • My wife is an oncology nurse, and has vast experience with this. Bone Marrow transplants have shown some promise, but are by no means always effective with multiple myeloma; they're more appropriate for other malignancies (leukemia, etc.). While we've made tremendous progress in this field and lots of cancer processes can be cured these days, multiple myeloma is one of the varieties with a very poor survival rate. The fact that Stan kept working for seven years after his initial diagnosis suggests he had
    • GETTING OLD SUCKS!!!!

      RIP bro, your magic will live on...

  • Hear hear (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @08:59AM (#23821927) Homepage Journal
    Here's to the guy who scared the crap out of me while simultaneously inspiring me in so many ways as a child.
  • He was just taken to the future by a T-800.
  • Goodbye and good travels. While none of us are destined to live forever, his work certainly will come close.
  • When I was a teenager, I had gotten into film quite a bit, and moreso I was headed towards the special effects industry. Stan was always a bit of a hero to me and I'm very sorry to see him go.
  • sad news indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theheadlessrabbit ( 1022587 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:29AM (#23822295) Homepage Journal
    i am very disapointed by the lack of tact in a lot of these posts. I know this is slashdot, but a man died after fighting with a killer for 7 long years. if you are going to make a crude comment here, at least make it +5 funny, not the -1 stupid i have been seeing so far.

    Stan, you will be missed.

    Your skill and imagination were an inspiration to me through the years.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iXiXi ( 659985 )
      I agree, am artist like this is rare and his creativity and efforts will be missed. It has always impressed me that some special effects artists will spend days creating something that might only be seen for a flash on the screen. While watching a horror movie the other night, a head was chopped off and it only had a few frames of screen time. The efforts these artists put into their work is highly unappreciated.
      • by flewp ( 458359 )
        Along the same idea, there's also the model makers who spend countless hours meticulously adding in the tiniest of details (though it's these tiniest of details that make them so real) to a model, just to have it appear for a second or two, or less, before being blown up in pyrotechnic glory.
    • Re:sad news indeed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @12:00PM (#23824313)
      Oh yeah -- in addition, please don't trot out that tired old "We make jokes to deal with the pain of loss" garbage. Last year when a close friend of mine died, we joked at his wake, with his mother no less, about the choice of beer at the event -- Dead Guy Ale. THAT is joking to cope with loss. Most people here didn't know this guy. Your jokes aren't a coping mechanism, they're just the symptom of being an ass. Of course, if your jokes are funny and not disrepectful, bring 'em on.
      • Re:sad news indeed (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @04:54PM (#23829933) Homepage Journal

        Oh yeah -- in addition, please don't trot out that tired old "We make jokes to deal with the pain of loss" garbage...Most people here didn't know this guy. Your jokes aren't a coping mechanism, they're just the symptom of being an ass.

        Knowing the man is irrelevant. It's not a competition to find out just who is the saddest about the loss and has therefore earned the right to make jokes. If you don't know him, you're going to have only one of three reactions:

        1. You're not going to give a shit one way or another. There are quite a few people dying every moment and there's nothing special about that.
        2. You're going to "know" him by his works. At which point, the most you might feel is disappointment that you're not going to see anything new by the guy.
        3. You're going to "know" him by his works and you're going to relate to everybody else who has seen his work by making jokes that relate to (surprise) the stuff he has done. Which is what most people have in common.

        It's not about being disrespectful, it's about being human. Being disrespectful would be to say things like, "I'm glad he's dead, he sucked anyway." Black humor is rarely disrespectful, and it's almost always better than hundreds of repetitive and insincere posts from people who never met the guy, his family, nor had any experience with someone who fought a "killer" disease for 7 years (I'm not implying you or the parent are insincere, but if I were to post something like that I most certainly would be. I have been lucky enough to have no idea what the man went through and I shall not pretend to know otherwise). People really need to stop being offended so easily. Furthermore, the more non-religious of us are unable say things like "Stan, you will be missed" because we don't think he can actually get the message.

        As far what I have to say about the subject, I never knew Stan Winston, but I have always stated how impressed I was with special effects in his movies. Recent overuse of CGI has made it so that effects in Terminator 2 looked much more "real" than effects in contemporary movies, it was truly ahead of its time. He seemed to have a very good grasp of when to use CGI and when to actually build something physical, and how to blend the two effects well. Therefore, I'm in the category of people who will certainly miss his work. I can only hope others have indeed been inspired by the quality of his work and will carry on.

        • People really need to stop being offended so easily.

          I'm not offended by the jokes. I'm bothered by the disingenuous EXCUSE for the jokes. It's true that people use humor to deal with emotional pain. But claiming that you're experiencing serious emotional pain at the loss of someone you probably didn't even recognize until being told, is simply dishonest. That's all.

    • i am very disapointed by the lack of tact in a lot of these posts. I know this is slashdot, but a man died after fighting with a killer for 7 long years. if you are going to make a crude comment here, at least make it +5 funny, not the -1 stupid i have been seeing so far.

      Stan, you will be missed.

      Your skill and imagination were an inspiration to me through the years.

      It's the Internet. People are anonymous and discussing someone that they don't know personally and that tends to make them tactless.

  • Such Great Work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tucara ( 812321 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:47AM (#23822511)
    I had just watched Aliens over the weekend after not having seen it for awhile (and recently suffering though the AVP:R). It was amazing at how much better the movie was since it didn't dump crappy CGI monsters into it. The Winston team worked hard to make realistic looking Aliens, not to mention all the models and the lifesize stuff like the load-lifter and the queen....*sigh*
    • Is it just me, or did CGI effects cease to evolve about 10 years ago? I'm sure they're cheaper to make now, but I really thought that suspension of disbelief would be easier by now.

      They still don't look real... it still looks like animation overtop of a movie. There is no "weight" to the way things move. Very disappointing... I miss the way movies used to look! Aliens (and Terminator 2, actually, curiously a very early CGI movie) have almost no shots that look "weird", even today.
  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @09:49AM (#23822529) Homepage
    I remember a cel coming out after Mel Blanc's death of a single microphone with many of the characters he voiced standing around mourning him.

    Maybe something similar could be done for Winston.

    From everything I've read about him, he was somebody that was generous, helpful and incredibly creative.

    He will be missed,

    myke
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I worked in visual and make up effects for 25 years before I moved on. I knew Stan somewhat but what's scary is of the people I know 62 is a ripe old age to die at in the effects industry. Of the people I've known well and close friends most haven't made it out of their early 50s and I've known people that died as young as 28 and large numbers in their 30s and 40s. Most were from cancer, heart, liver damage or related diseases. Skin cancer is a rarer one for effects people because of long hours in dark shop
  • by DanOrc451 ( 1302609 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @10:31AM (#23823033)

    Your death can be reasonably symbolized by a red light flickering out in a velociraptor's eye.

    Thanks for the magic.
  • by Mighty-Hypnotoad ( 1309129 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @10:51AM (#23823271)
    I grew up completely immmersed in film and the worlds that Stan created. His contributions were always the most spectacular and most awe inspiring special effects work committed to celluloid bar none. Probably the greatest innovator in the field since Ray Harryhausen, he will be sorely missed.

    R.I.P Stan
  • Stan did some cool stuff.
    It's a great loss for the entertainment industry.

    On a lighter note...
    from wikipedia:
    "In 1983, Winston designed the Mr. Roboto facemask for the American rock group Styx"

    I wish I could say I designed the mask for Mr. Roboto.

    Ed
    -
    Cub fans... This is the year! http://www.100yearsorbust.com
  • I am very sorry that Stan Winston has passed away.

    He won an Academy Award for Aliens [wikipedia.org] in 1986.
  • by dunezone ( 899268 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @11:36AM (#23823889) Journal
    I told my friends about Stan yesterday. And my friends are big sci-fi people. They had no clue who this man was, nor did they care. But the thing was, once I told them what movies he worked on, what creatures he created, they were amazed.

    Before CGI, this was the guy to go to for special effects and creature creation. In my opinion, he had the privilege to live the high point of traditional movie special effects, and had the honor of working on the film that ushered in CGI(Jurassic Park). And the thing about Jurassic Park, this movie combined both the classic approach and a modern approach seamlessly.

    Watching the interview on the JP DVD you can tell how excited he was to work on that project. The time he took with ILM to make sure a shot that had the actual built dinosaur and the CGI created worked seamlessly, shot to shot. To this day I load up the T-Rex attack scene and ask people to pull out the CGI shot and the non-CGI shot. Barely anyone can tell difference. Yet, I load up "i-Robot" and people just laugh at the compositing.

    Last week I watched "Aliens", first time I have ever seen the film. I was blown away. The detailed model work was amazing. This was all pre-cgi also. The thing with Stan Winston, he knew CGI was the new hollywood tool, but just like Phil Tippett, he also knew his skills were not gone. There was still room for traditional effects.

    He will be missed, and as more and more films use less and less traditional special effects. You can always look back and watch films like Aliens, Predator, Terminator, and tell your kids this is how they did it before we had computers. And one of the masters of the pre-computer era was Stan Winston.
    • In my opinion, he had the privilege to live the high point of traditional movie special effects, and had the honor of working on the film that ushered in CGI(Jurassic Park). And the thing about Jurassic Park, this movie combined both the classic approach and a modern approach seamlessly.

      Hear, hear. It was embarrassing that the CGI in Indiana Jones 4 was so obviously fake, to say nothing of some of the mindnubbingly bad sequences in Star Wars 1, 2 and 3. I thought it was Spielberg who pulled off Jurassic Park's most brilliant trick - by making the CGI distant and vague, and using puppets and robots for all the close-up shots, he allowed the movie to age extremely well - it still feels whole lot more real than many other movies made since! Well, I thought it was Spielberg - on the basis of

      • First, Indiana Jones 4 was just terrible. I wont go into why, but you hit one point with the CGI.

        Spielberg gets credit for taking a chance with CGI. In the late 80s early 90s he got together Phil Tippet, Dennis Muren, and Stan Winston, told them what he wanted, and they all agreed to help. Originally Jurassic Park was suppose to use Go-Motion for the dinosaurs by Phil Tippet, which is traditional stop-motion with a blur effect, ILM was suppose to do only the field with the running herd of gallimimus. ILM
  • An important man (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HungWeiLo ( 250320 ) on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @11:44AM (#23824051)
    I'm sure his imagination and labor has single-handedly contributed at least several percentage points to the GDP of the United States from Hollywood exports.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday June 17, 2008 @12:37PM (#23824893)
    You're finally free from James Cameron's ego, beautiful traveler.

    Wait, Ray Harryhausen is still ALIVE?!?!

  • He was the 80's equivalent of the modern celebrity CEO. People devowered the stories of how the latest effects shot was done & Stan was always at the cutting edge. The technology was always changing. Every effects shot required a unique solution. Individual creativity made a big difference back then. Today the same shots would involve hiring thousands of Maya artists & following a standard procedure.

  • RIP Stan
  • For someone I never met, and who I only know through his work and interviews, I'm shocked by how upset I am by this. I found out this morning, and in the few minutes it took me to make a quick blog post about it I was in tears.

    Since I was a kid Winston's work has been the inspiration for more wild dreams and terrifying nightmares than I could ever recount, and I've loved all of it. Between the Alien queen and Terminator endoskeletons I have more representations of Winston's work in my cube at work than I do
  • I think Stan worked on the first couple Batman films (1989, 1992), my teen-years favorites. He will be missed.
  • The saddest part of the deaths of recent people from Tim Russet to Cyd Charisse is that they were entirely unnecessary. We have the cryonics preservation technology to ensure that although they may be dead from a technical standpoint -- viewing them as permanently dead is open to question. We need a restructuring of how we think about "death" and it probably requires re-educating every physician in the country.

    You are not "dead" until all the information in your body has been converted to an unrecoverable state.

  • I loved the fact that whenever I saw Stan Winston's name in the opening credits of a movie, I would know that no matter how lame the movie turned out to be, there was always going to be some kind of cool monster/robot creation. I guess that won't be happening anymore.

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