Published at: June 16, 2008, 4:25 p.m. CST by quint
Hey guys. Quint here with some absolutely horrible news. We had an unsubstantiated email come in about 20 minutes ago telling us that Stan Winston passed away last night. I couldn’t find any reference to it online at the AP wire, Variety, CNN or anywhere, so I figured it wasn’t true.
Then a second email came in, which made my heart drop into my stomach, a new person saying the same thing, without any backup. I asked for clarification and got it, so I got on the phone with a friend of mine who knows Winston and got the confirmation.
The father of the dinosaurs in JURASSIC PARK, of THE TERMINATOR, of PUMPKINHEAD and PREDATOR and the Monsters in MONSTER SQUAD and, of course, ALIENS, has passed on.
The man is a legend and created legends. He himself a God in his own right, sculpting Icons that will be remembered as long as people with imagination deem it prudent to tell stories to an audience.
He was a leader in practical effects work, having given opportunity to all top effects leaders today. Winston idolized the people that came before him in the field, like Ray Harryhausen, and sought to make his own iconography, inspiring yet more to follow in his lead.
The picture below is of Ray Harryhausen getting his star on the Hollywood walk of fame, something that Winston was instrumental in making happen. Also pictured is another effects legend, Rick Baker, and director Frank Darabont.
I have one quick anecdote to share. I’m a big MONSTER SQUAD fan and have spoken with many people involved, including Tom Woodruff who worked with Winston on the effects and was even the man in the Gillman suit, as well as the cast and crew and a funny story involving Winston came out of that.
Apparently, he oversaw the film, but gave his sculptors freedom to create the creatures, so as a gag, they sculpted up Wolf Man to look exactly like Stan. Now, I never heard if he saw himself in it, but I do know that he loved it and the final version in the movie IS werewolf Stan Winston.
He won Oscars for his make-up and visual effects work on ALIENS, TERMINATOR 2 and JURASSIC PARK and was nominated for his work on HEARTBEEPS, PREDATOR, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, BATMAN RETURNS, THE LOST WORLD and AI.
And he wasn't done yet. His practical work on IRON MAN is a huge part of what made the film a success and he was working on the new Terminator movie.
There’s a part of me that really hopes all this is some kind of giant misunderstanding. I hope this report is in error, but I’ve gotten too many confirmations now to not mention it.
We can only hope that his memory is done justice by Stan Winston Studios and they keep creating icons for generations to come.
My thoughts are with Mr. Winston’s friends, family and fans.