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Stan Winston Has Died


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That's very sad. I'm an enormous fan of practical effects work and frankly I think all here are film fans of an age where its impossible not to have been thrilled time and time again over the past twenty plus years by Stan Winston's work. Even recently, as I stated elsewhere, I thought his contribution to Iron Man was an absolute joy to behold.


I've simply lost count of the major film industry talent that has been lost this year - particularly those who have died before their time. 62 is no age. A great loss.

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That's very sad. I'm an enormous fan of practical effects work and frankly I think all here are film fans of an age where its impossible not to have been thrilled time and time again over the past twenty plus years by Stan Winston's work.


My thoughts exactly

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Wow that really sucks. Big fan of his work. Being a child of the 80's and 90's he was a big influence on some of my favorite movies. In a age where CGI is often overused and/or poorly implemented I always appriciate seeing old school hand created effects. The Predator creation still holds up 20 years later and remains one of if not my favorite Winston creations. I also really dug his visuals in A.I. (even if the movie bored the hell outa me). The animatronics were outstanding. He will be missed.

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I wouldn't normally link to Ain't it Cool News but a friend alerted me to the fact they've been the first to get a response from James Cameron:


...the mainstream media won't get it. They don't understand the important stuff. They're too busy chasing young idiot celebrities around the rehab circuit.


Stan was a great man. I'm proud to have been his friend, and his collaborator on what for both of us, was some of our best work. We met in pre-production on Terminator in 1983, and quickly sized each other up as the kind of crazy son of a bitch that you wanted for a friend. We've stayed friends for over a quarter of a century, and would have been for much longer if he had not been cut down.


We've lost a great artist, a man who made a contribution to the cinema of the fantastic that will resound for a long long time. I don't need to list the indelible characters he and his team of artists brought to the screen. Readers of your site know them.


We all know Stan's work, the genius of his designs. But not even the fans necessarily know how great he was as a man. I mean a real man --- a man who knows that even though your artistic passion can rule your life, you still make time for your family and your friends. He was a good father, and he raised two great kids. His wife of 37 years, Karen, was with him in the beginning, helping him make plaster molds in their garage for low budget gigs on TV movies, and she was with him at the end.


He was a man of incredible humor. When I think of him I see him smiling, usually a goofy grin as he twists his glasses askew on his nose doing a Jerry Lewis impression. Never afraid to play the clown, because he knew his colleagues respected him. He lived life full throttle, in work and play. Like me he loved fast cars, and whenever one of us would get a new toy, the other had to drive it (a practice which was strained for few years after I skidded his brand new Porsche turbo, just off the boat from Stuttgart, into his garage and stopped a half inch from the back wall). We even went to formula racing school together. For the last ten years or so we rode motorcycles on Sundays with Arnold Schwarzenegger and some other friends, not every week but as many Sundays as we could. There was a comradeship that comes from starting out together, and never betraying the respect and trust of that friendship over the years, but always being there for each other, that the three of us have shared.


Stan and I founded Digital Domain together, and our friendship was never strained by being business partners. He always demonstrated incredible wisdom in business, because he knew people, and especially creative people. He inspired artists to pull together and work as a team, which is like herding cats, but it was perhaps his greatest talent. To lead by inspiration. His own team at Stan Winston Studios is the most stable in the business. His core guys have been with him literally since Terminator, 25 years. That's because they respected him so much, and because he made the work fun, even though it was hard. They would stay up all night busting their ass for him. They knew they would always be doing something cutting edge and challenging, and that he respected them enough to let them run with it. Though he could draw and sculpt as well as any of them, he never let his own talent eclipse theirs, because he knew that team building was the most important aspect of leadership. And that's what allowed them to create success after success for over two decades, and win 4 Oscars, among over 30 awards. A walk through Stan's studio gallery is a trip through the last two decades of fantasy cinema. Predators, Terminators, raptors, T-rexes, Edward Scissorhands himself and a hundred more. It hits you how great an impact he's had.


I spoke with Stan by phone Saturday morning, and apparently it was one of the last conversations he had. Incredibly, in retrospect, he was full of life, you'd never have known he was at death's door. We talked for a long time about all the fun times, and all the dragons we'd slain together. He said that once you've shown something is possible, everybody can do it. What was important was being first. Breaking new ground.


Well that's just what he did his whole career, and today's creature and character effects business uses the techniques he developed every single day. He inspired a generation of fantasy effects geeks, and his legacy will be found in their dreams up on the screens of the future, not just in the films he worked on directly.


I'm going to miss him, like I'd miss a brother. It's hard, almost unfathomable, to talk about him in the past tense. He was just one of those larger than life people that was so alive that you can't imagine them gone. But he is gone. I ask the fans to remember not just the work but the man.


Thanks for listening.


Jim out



Reflections elsewhere from Arnold Schwarzenegger:


"The entertainment industry has lost a genius, and I lost one of my best friends with the death Sunday night of Stan Winston," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Stan's work and four Oscars speak for themselves and will live on forever. What will live forever in my heart is the way that Stan loved everyone and treated each of his friends like they were family."



Jon Favreau:


"He was experienced and helped guide me while never losing his childlike enthusiasm," Favreau said in a statement. "He was the king of integrating practical effects with CGI, never losing his relevance in an ever changing industry. I am proud to have worked with him and we were looking forward to future collaborations. I knew that he was struggling, but I had no idea that he would be gone so soon. Hollywood has lost a shining star."


Steven Spielberg:


?Stan was a fearless and courageous artist/inventor and for many projects, I rode his cutting edge from teddy bears to aliens to dinosaurs. My world would not have been the same without Stan. What I will miss most is his easy laugh every time he said to me, ?Nothing is impossible.??



Incidentally, if none of you have the book 'The Winston Effect' I highly recommend it.

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That is definitely a big loss to those of us who enjoyed his work.

I read an article this morning at http://www.mania.com "Stan Winston Remembered"

that pretty much says how I feel as well when we hear about celebrities passing away, and while we acknowledge their work and remember them that way, the truth is, they are real people, with real families, and their passing is an extremely emotionally hard time for their loved ones, just as when someone WE love passes away.

Not that I try to make someone else's pain my own, but I can't help but empathize with them more than I should sometimes! :)

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