Stan Winston receives touching tributes

Stan Winston has received a number of heartfelt tributes worldwide since his untimely death in June 2008. Here are some of the tributes that have been sent to us:

"Having spent a career in the NZ film industry it is very rare you get to interact with your peers in other parts of the world, but during a trip that my wife Tania and I made to America many years ago, we had the great pleasure of meeting Stan. He was very gracious and enthusiastic about all that we were trying to do in our small way down in our part of the world and was kind enough to give us a look inside his studios – even though he was working on a fairly secret project at the time. I took away from this experience the memory of an enthusiast who loved his craft and enjoyed greatly working in the art of filmmaking. Stan and his crew, who have worked so tirelessly with him over the years, have been a great inspiration to so many up and coming effects people in the world’s film industry and I am certain that Stan’s legacy will carry on in the incredible work that his team will continue to do from the shop.
From all of us at Weta Workshop, we send our heartfelt condolences to Stan’s family and crew." ~Richard Taylor


"I always felt that Stan Winston missed his calling; he was such a showman, he should have run a movie studio. He would have been great at it and I think the movie business would be in a better place than it is now if he did. Stan took the make-up effects  Stan took the make-up effects out of the garage and made it a respectable business. I remember the days when people like us were called lab men and looked down upon. Stan changed all of that. The business won’t be the same without him. I know I will surely miss him, his work and his showmanship. I feel like it is the end of an era." ~Rick Baker


"Stan was an icon. He had a staggering hit rate with the movies he chose and the characters he created for them, many of which can quite rightly be called classics. Stan was also a real showman, and this really helped to raise the profile of people in my profession. In fact, I don’t think you could just call him an icon for people who work in special makeup effects, because that’s too limiting. People loved him in every corner of the movie business, and outside as well, such was the impact of his work. There were people who would wait for the next movie that had his work in, in the same way that people would wait for say, the next Spielberg movie. He will be missed."~ Dave Elsey


"I have never worked for him or his company, but I have immense respect for what he has done for all those great films and the whole industry.  He was one of the greatest artists, who inspired me and many other artists. The first and only time I met him was when I displayed the Dick Smith portrait at the trade show for Dick’s 80th birthday.  And he asked a member of staff to find me just to tell me congratulations about my piece.  I really appreciated his kindness.  He built one of the mainstream ways that this business and art couldl be achieved with respect.  His loss will be a great loss. Especially  since this business has already lost the meaning of existence in one part of the industry, which was built by great artists, such as Stan, Rick and Dick." ~Kazuhiro Tsuji


"I had the pleasure of working with Stan on Jurassic Park. His love of the genre and craft made him one of the significant players in fantastic cinema. His contributions will have a lasting effect on the work we in SPFX world. He will be missed." ~Phil Tippett


"I never met Stan Winston in person, however, I was able to tour his workshop way back in 1987 when Shane Mahan, John Rosengrant, Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff were all there. There was a real excitement from them all about working at Stan’s studio and the projects they were working on were awe inspiring to say the least. I returned to Australia ,determined to continue to raise the standard of creature effects and animatronics to the levels I saw at Stan’s studio.

When films like The Terminator, Predator, Aliens, Jurassic Park and The Iron Man were released, it was a real inspiration to marvel at the spectacular achievements made by Stan Winston’s studio. Whether it was make-up effects, animatronics or visual effects, it was no accident that Stan Winston was chosen to contribute to some of the most memorable films in recent times. The dedication and expertise of Stan and those who worked with him was the deciding factor.

Stan Winston had 9 Academy award nominations and 4 wins, which shows how much of an influence he has had on cinematic effects work. His book, which I know he was most proud of, gives an insight into the challenges he faced on many fronts as a struggling make-up effects artist – before there was really any acknowledgement of such a specialised field. Unknowingly, many of us in this field owe Stan a debt of gratitude for the issues he fought against to gain recognition for this field of creative art.

I was stunned to read of his death and went online immediately to a number of tribute sites and was very happy to read that so many people knew so much about him and that there were so many tributes from people who worked with him that spoke of him as a very intelligent, artistic, articulate and inspirational mentor.

Stan Winston has left us a legacy of indelible characters that have already proven themselves to be amongst the most pioneering and influential visions in cinematic history." ~John Cox