E.T., Alien effects creator Carlo Rambaldi dies at 86

Calabria native won three Oscars

E.T., Alien effects creator Carlo Rambaldi dies at 86

(ANSA) - Catanzaro, August 10 - Italian special-effects great Carlo Rambaldi, who was famous for creating the title character in the film E.T., died Friday at the age of 86 in the southern town of Lamezia Terme where he lived. Rambaldi won three Oscars - including a Special Achievement Award - for his work on King Kong, Alien and E.T. Rambaldi, who is credited with developing special effects for some 32 pictures, including classics like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Dune, was perhaps the first effects creator to have to prove that his special effects were not real after dog mutilation scenes in 1971's A Lizard in Woman's Skin were so realistic that the film's director was prosecuted for animal cruelty. Lucio Fulci got off without serving any time after Rambaldi offered up enough evidence to show that no real animal was used in making the movie. In the early 2000s hit TV series Alias, centered on the improbable adventures of female CIA agent Sydney Bristow (played by Jennifer Garner), character Milo Rambaldi was named after him. Rambaldi was known as an old-style effects man who often complained that computers had taken the magic out of his craft. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, where he developed his passion for electromechanics and the anatomy of the human skeleton and musculature. Inspired by the works of Pablo Picasso and Italian artist Renato Guttuso, Rambaldi won substantial acclaim for his early art work. But in 1963 he entered the Italian cinema as a special effects artist and subsequently worked for a host of top Italian directors including Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mario Monicelli and Dario Argento. In 1976 he became involved with the construction of Dino De Laurentiis' King Kong and embarked on a very successful period of work in America, where he moved in 1977. Rambaldi, who felt a strong bond with his homeland in Calabria, moved to Lamezia Terme 10 years ago. His wife had origins in the same region. "With Rambaldi's passing we lose a special effects wizard. He was a true genius," said Mario Caligiuri, the Calabria region's cultural affairs councillor, who announced the death.

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