Douglas Trumbull , the visual effects master who contributed to some of science fiction’s greatest masterpieces, is dead.


He was 79 years old. Trumbull had made, among others, the groundbreaking visual effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey , and the equally memorable ones of Close Encounters of the Third Kind , Star Trek (the first film) and Blade Runner .

Trumbull also worked as a director, debuting in 1972 with 2002: the second odyssey (sly Italian title of Silent Running ), an ecological-themed film, starring Bruce Dern , which later became a cult. His Brainstorm – Electronic Generation , played by Christopher Walken , is also famous .

The farewell to Hollywood, and the return

In the early 90s, Douglas Trumbull retired from the industry to devote himself to the development of new technologies for cinema, tired of the Hollywood system. He would only return to the forefront in 2011, working as a consultant on Terrence Malick ‘s The Tree of Life , and in 2018, when he curated the visual effects of The Man Who Killed Hitler and then Bigfoot .

It was Trumbull who came up with the effects of the 2001 “Star Gate” sequence . At the end of the 70s, George Lucas proposed to him to direct the newborn Industrial Light & Magic , a revolutionary visual effects company born to make Star Wars . But Trumbull, who at the time was busy working on Close Encounters of the Third Kind , instead recommended his assistant John Dykstra , who would later share the Oscar for the Star Wars effects .

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Douglas Trumbull was nominated for three Oscars, for Close Encounters , Star Trek and Blade Runner . He won none, but later received two Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Academy: a Scientific and Engineering Award in 1993 and a Gordon E. Sawyer Award in 2012, as “an individual in the film industry whose technological contributions have been a source of pride for the industry “.

His passing was announced by daughter Amy Trumbull , who wrote that her father “died last night after a tough two-year battle with cancer, a brain tumor and a stroke.” RIP.