Friday, August 10, 2012

RIP Carlo Rambaldi

Carlo Rambaldi, Father of "E.T." Dies at 86

Special effects guru on several blockbusters in 70s and 80s

MILAN, Italy (AP) — Special effects master and three-time Oscar winner Carlo Rambaldi has died in southern Italy after a long illness. He was 86.

The LaPresse news agency said Rambaldi died Friday in the Calabrian city of Lamezia Terme, where he had lived for a decade.

Rambaldi was an Italian special effects artist who is most famous for designing the title character of the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the mechanical head-effects for the creature in Alien (for both Rambaldi won an Oscar). Rambaldi also has worked on Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) (1975), King Kong (1976), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Nightwing (1979), Possession (1981), Dune (1984), King Kong Lives (1986), and Cameron's Closet (1988). In addition to the two Oscars for Visual Effects, he also won a third Special Achievement Academy Award for visual effects in John Guillermin's King Kong (1976). He worked on the optical effects for Tonino Ricci’s 1974 Euro-western “White Fang to the Rescue”.

Rambaldi had the distinction of being the first special effects artist to be required to prove that his work on a film was not 'real'. The dog-mutilation scenes in the 1971 film A Lizard in a Woman's Skin were so convincingly visceral that its director, Lucio Fulci, was prosecuted for offences relating to animal cruelty. Fulci would have served a two-year prison sentence had Rambaldi not exhibited the film's array of props to a courtroom, proving that the scene was not filmed using real animals.

Calabria's top culture official Mario Caligiuri called Rambaldi "a magician of special effects" and "an indisputable example of Italian creativity."

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