Brian Johnson (special effects artist)

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Brian Johnson
Born Brian Johncock
1940 (age 74–75)
Nationality British
Occupation Special effects artist and film director
Years active 1957–2006
Known for Alien (1979)
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Television Thunderbirds (1965–66)
Space: 1999 (1975–78)
Awards Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (1980)
Special Achievement Academy Award (1981)
Saturn Award (1981)
BAFTA Award (1987)

Brian Johnson (born 1940)[1] is a British designer and director of film and television special effects.

Life and career[edit]

Born Brian Johncock,[2] he changed his surname to Johnson during the 1960s.[2] He is known for his special effects work on TV series including Thunderbirds (1965–66) and films including Alien (1979),[3] for which he received the 1980 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (shared with H. R. Giger, Carlo Rambaldi Dennis Ayling and Nick Allder). Previously, he had built miniature spacecraft models for Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.[4]

Johnson's work on Space: 1999 influenced the effects of the Star Wars films of the 1970s and 1980s.[5] Impressed by his work, George Lucas visited Johnson during the production of the TV series to offer him the role of effects supervisor for the 1977 film. Having already been commissioned for the second series of Space: 1999, Johnson was unable to accept at the time.[6] He did, however, work on the sequel: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), whose special effects were recognised in the form of a 1981 Special Achievement Academy Award (which Johnson shared with Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren and Bruce Nicholson).


Johnson has won Academy Awards for both Alien (1979) and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980). He was further nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Dragonslayer (1981). In addition, Johnson is the recipient of a Saturn Award (for The Empire Strikes Back) and a BAFTA Award (for the 1986 sequel to Alien, Aliens).


Special effects[edit]



  1. ^ Geppert, Alexander C.T., ed. (2012). Imagining Outer Space: European Astroculture in the Twentieth Century. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-230-36136-2. 
  2. ^ a b Archer, Simon; Hearn, Marcus (2002). What Made Thunderbirds Go! The Authorised Biography of Gerry Anderson. London: BBC Books. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-563-53481-5. 
  3. ^ "Bring on the Gore: Top Ten Practical Effects in Horror!". BloodyDisgusting. 
  4. ^ Drake, Chris: UFO and Space: 1999. Boxtree. p. 58.
  5. ^ The Catacombs—Brian Johnson.
  6. ^ Brian Johnson Interview, 1979.

External links[edit]