VFX pioneer Douglas Trumbull, who worked on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Blade Runner’, dies at 79

Legendary visual effects artiste Douglas Trumbull, who is known for crafting the VFX of landmark films like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Blade Runner’, passed away on Monday at the age of 79.

As per Variety, the reasons behind Trumbull’s demise are said to be the complications developed from mesothelioma. His daughter Amy wrote on Facebook that he had cancer, a brain tumor and a stroke. She wrote, “My sister Andromeda and I got to see him on Saturday and tell him that we love him and we got to tell him to enjoy and embrace his journey into the Great Beyond.”

Douglas was born in Los Angeles, his father was mechanical engineer and visual effects man Don Trumbull, who worked on films ranging from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ to ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’. His mother, Marcia Hunt, was an artiste as well.

Trumbull started off as an illustrator and airbrush artist at Graphic Films in Los Angeles, which created a documentary ‘To the Moon and Beyond’. Stanley Kubrick, was mightily impressed by their work and hired Graphic Films director Con Pederson. Trumbull, who got Kubrick’s number from Pederson, made a cold-call to Kubrick which resulted in his hiring to work on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

Initially, he was given a relatively minor task of creating the animated displays seen on the computer screens throughout the ship in the film. However, his responsibilities saw an evolution through the course of the film’s production as he became one of the four visual effects supervisors on the movie.




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