Carlo Rambaldi, Special Effects Legend and Creator of E.T., Dies at 86
so long and thanks for all the fish
The Grey’s of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Alien xenomorph, E.T.. Carlo Rambaldi, Oscar-winning special-effects master, created them all. He passed away this Friday in his home in Italy.
One of the most memorable parts of the sci-fi worlds we see created on the big screen is always the monsters. Whether they’re the benign (E.T.) or the vicious (Alien), they stick with us when we leave the theater or pop out the DVD. Carlo Rambaldi’s job was to create these monsters, and he was one of the best at it.
“Fantastical” would be a good word to describe Rambaldi’s work. Here’s what the New York Times said on his creation of E.T.:
[He] used steel, polyurethane, rubber, and hydraulic and electronic controls to create an alien so ugly it was beguiling, with outsize eyes based on his cat’s and wizened skin (in some scenes E.T. was played by an actor in a suit). The alien was capable of 150 separate moves, like wrinkling his nose, furrowing his brow and extending his neck.
In a statement released Friday, Steven Spielberg referred to Rambaldi as “E.T.’s Gepetto.”
Making expert use of his knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering and puppetry, Rambaldi won two Academy Awards during his lifetime–one for E.T. and the other for Alien.
Getting his start when asked to create a dragon for low-budget film Sigfrido, Rambaldi went on to create the title character in John Guillermin‘s 1976 remake of King Kong. For this he received a lifetime achievement award from the Motion Picture Academy.
Rambaldi had an illustrious career, one that will live long past today. He will be sorely missed.
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