Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Passing of a Legend

The skeletal spotlight shines today on:
Stan Winston's Terrifying Terminator Endoskeleton

Stan brought to life the most frightening robot ever envisioned.
Sad news for sci-fi and horror movie fans: special effects legend Stan Winston is gone.
Stan Winston: 1946 - 2008

Special effects and makeup guru Stan Winston passed away on Sunday, June 15th in Los Angeles, California. He was 62. Winston died at home Sunday evening after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma. Winston was best known for his work for the "Terminator," "Jurassic Park" and "Predator" series, and Edward Scissorhands. The 3-time Oscar winner most recently worked on Iron Man and was special effects supervisor on the upcoming Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins. Winston won Oscars for Aliens (1986), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1992) and Jurassic Park (1993).

It was with shock and sadness that I heard the news of his passing on TV yesterday. I had not even known he was ill. Enjoying his talent in Iron Man, the thought of his possible premature departure was the farthest thing from my mind. Yet, he apparently knew it could be soon, but didn't let it stop his creative output or his future plans. I wonder if I could have done so in his position.

Stan's work will live forever in the hearts and minds of movie fans.

Stan winning one of many awards for his incredible work.

Look into my eyes... and wet your pants like a widdle-bitty baby.
Image source

"Let's see... 'How To Pick Up A Woman.' This will be helpful."

A Personal Recollection...

My earliest exposure to a Stan Winston effort (although I didn't know it at the time) was when I saw the first broadcast of the made-for-TV movie "Gargoyles" in 1972 on the CBS Saturday Night Movie. Ah, what a time. I was 13 years old, and loved the movie. I was staying over at my grandmother's house for the weekend, as I often did, and unlike at home, I was free to watch what I pleased. The memories of this movie are colorfully tinged with the happiness of the time I had while watching it; eating Krystal cheeseburgers with Grandma and reading a new issue of The Monster Times during the commercials. So it was with extreme pleasure that I recently acquired the DVD release, and relived those days, eating fresh cheese Krystals and near at hand the very same copy of TMT.

As exciting a time as it was for me watching the movie back in '72, in looking back I can only imagine how exciting it was for young 24 year-old Stan, just beginning his film career, and getting his break to do the makeup and costumes for a TV movie. His work in it is the major reason it is remembered so fondly today, and won him his first Emmy award.

Sure, the costumes showed some zippers and wrinkles, but they also showed more than a glimpse at the genius of Stan, which would only find greater expression as time went by. Thanks, Stan, for giving me a lot of thrills and chills over the years.

You will be missed.


Karswell said...

Nice tribute Fred!

Patrick said...

As a makeup artist myself, I am really bummed out to hear about Stan's death. His work was inspiring in so many ways. I remember my jaw hitting the floor when I saw the work he did on Pumpkinhead, and I have 5 monster figures from Stan's "creature" action figure series surrounding my computer here at work as a constant reminder to his great talents. He will be greatly missed for sure!

Mr. Cavin said...

Good work, Fred.

CRwM said...

Can anybody ID the model to Stan's right in the photo of him with a handful of his larger than life sized creations? The one that kinda looks like a beat up mailman or pilot? I don't recognize the figure.

Mr. Cavin said...

CRwM: I can tell you what I think. I think that's a prosthetics cast for Mr. Williams, the Bellman in Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, as played by veteran character actor John Prosky. Apparently, Prosky can be seen on just about any hour-long procedural television rerun these days. Here's his IMdB page.

I didn't love the movie and haven't revisited it since the night I saw it in the theater. So it is very possible my identification is wrong. Best be double checking me before you go putting any wagers on it.

That double-checking will probably require you to watch the movie. I have had very little luck finding adequate corroboration online. This is the best I could do. Mr. Prosky's character is just to the left of Jude Law. That looks like the same effect, right? That looks like John Prosky right? These are the processes by which I operate....

Fred said...

Mr. Cavin,

Good detecting job! You posted the (likely) answer before I could. I was doing my own online sleuthing and was following the same clues you were. I had a hunch it came from A.I. because of the human face and visible robot parts (like you I had only watched it once, it was too depressing to watch again any time soon). And looking at online photos I googled, the guy in the photo you listed does indeed look like the very same character. So, as far as I'm concerned, the mystery is solved.

CRWM, are you happy with the answer?

I won't charge you for my detecting efforts, but Mr. Cavin will likely send you a bill. :)

CRwM said...

Good work, gumshoes.