"Star Wars" visual effects artist McCune dies

Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:48pm EST
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By Kimberly Nordyke

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Oscar-winning "Star Wars" visual-effects designer Grant McCune, who created scenes with models and miniature films for more than three decades, has died of pancreatic cancer, his production company said on Wednesday. He was 67.

McCune, who died Monday at his home in Hidden Hills, 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, won his Oscar for 1977's "Star Wars," the original installment in George Lucas' six-film sci-fi franchise. He shared the honor with John Stears, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund and Robert Blalack.

McCune also was nominated for an Oscar in 1980 for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

Armed with a bachelor's degree in biology, McCune got his start on "Jaws," when he and Bill Shourt were hired to make a giant white shark model; neither was credited on the film.

He later became a partner at Apogee Prods., where he worked on three dozen films, including "Die Hard," "Never Say Never Again," "Big," "Space Balls" and "Caddyshack." Striking out on his own, McCune such films as "Speed," "Batman Forever," "U.S. Marshals," "Red Planet," "U-571," "Spider-Man" and "Serenity."

He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.