Visual Effects Pioneer, Douglas Trumbull Dead at 79

| February 9, 2022
Visual Effects Pioneer, Douglas Trumbull Dead at 79

Earlier this week, it was revealed the visual effects pioneer, Douglas Trumbull, behind such movies as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and more, has passed away at the age of 79.

Trumbull died after losing a two-year fight with cancer, a brain tumour and a stroke. His wife, Julia and daughter, Amy confirmed his death earlier this week.

“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,” Amy wrote in a Facebook post.

During his time creating visual effects and new techniques in the film industry, Trumbull and his talent have been recognized throughout the years. Trumbull received three Oscar nominations in the visual effect category for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner.

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His other accolades include being awarded the Academy’s Scientific and Engineering Award for creating the Showscan Camera System and the Visual Effects Society’s Georges Méliès Award in 2012. The latter award honours recipients who have made significant and pioneering contributions to the visual effects business. Trumbull’s impact on the industry is felt by the multiple generations of visual effect artists that followed him and are influenced by his work.

“Doug stands out as an iconic figure in visual effects, one of the early pioneers who blended a deep knowledge of cinematography and mechanics to develop techniques that we still use today. An early evangelist of high frame rate processes, Doug’s vision for where we can take cinema is just now coming to fruition,” Weta FX senior VFX supervisor, Joe Letteri said.

Visual effects actually run in Douglas Trumbull’s family as his father, Donald Trumbull was a motion picture special effects pioneer as well who helped work on a very familiar movie, The Wizard of Oz. Earlier in Douglas Trumbull’s career, he worked together with his father on several films.

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