Friends, relatives and show-business colleagues gathered Sunday to remember Oscar-winning special-effects maestro Stan Winston, the man responsible for bringing the dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park” and other iconic movie creatures to life.
Winston died at his home in Malibu surrounded by family June 15 after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma. He was 62.
Winston’s son Matt recounted his father’s last day as being filled with laughter, hugs, kisses, tears and music from the Beatles. At the end of the private memorial service at the Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, Matt played the last song Winston heard before he died: the Beatles’ “All My Loving.”
Colleagues including “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau, Sigourney Weaver, Tom Arnold, Ernie Hudson and Robert Patrick joined Winston’s family and friends to reminisce and listen to personal stories from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rabbi Judith Halevy, brother Ronny Winston, uncle Mitchell Karlan, son-in-law Erich Litoff, and directors James Cameron and Steven Spielberg.
“What Stan did is that he took our dreams — he took all of our dreams — and he blended them with his own dreams,” Spielberg told mourners in attendance. “He then workshopped those dreams with pencil, clay and later years on the computer. He would basically give life to all of our ideas. He would make them come to life.”
In a career spanning four decades, Winston created some of the most memorable visual effects in cinematic history. He helped bring the dinosaurs from “Jurassic Park,” the extraterrestrials from “Aliens,” the robots from “Terminator” and even “Edward Scissorhands” to the big screen. He was a pioneer in merging real-world effects with computer-generated imagery.
Winston won visual effects Oscars for 1986’s “Aliens,” 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and 1993’s “Jurassic Park.” He also won a makeup Oscar for “Terminator 2.” He was nominated for his work on “Heartbeeps,” “Predator,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Batman Returns,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “A.I.”
Frequent collaborator Cameron told those gathered he spoke with Winston the day before he died. Cameron said Winston expressed something that he never had before: Winston told his colleague and friend that he loved him. Cameron also let “the fans speak for Stan” by reading several messages posted after Winston’s death by users of the movie news and gossip Web site Ain’t It Cool News.
“He inspired a generation of fans,” Cameron said. “I think that just maybe the words of a bunch of people who didn’t even know him personally may be his best tribute.”
Winston’s survivors include his wife, Karen; and his son, daughter, brother and four grandchildren.