Stan Winston (right) with Michael Jackson during the 50th International Cannes Film Festival.
April 7, 1946|
Arlington, Virginia, USA
|Died||June 15, 2008
Malibu, California, USA
|Spouse(s)||Karen Winston (1969-2008; his death; 2 children)|
Stanley Winston (April 7, 1946 – June 15, 2008) was an American television and film special effects supervisor and makeup artist. He was best known for his work in the Terminator series, the Jurassic Park series, Aliens, the Predator series, Iron Man, Edward Scissorhands, and Avatar. He won four Academy Awards for his work.
Winston, a frequent collaborator with director James Cameron, owned several effects studios, including Stan Winston Digital. The established areas of expertise for Winston were in makeup, puppets and practical effects, but he had recently expanded his studio to encompass digital effects as well.
Life and career 
Winston was born on April 7, 1946, in Arlington, Virginia, where he graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 1964. He studied painting and sculpture at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville from which he graduated in 1968. In 1969, after attending California State University, Long Beach, Winston moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as an actor. Struggling to find an acting job, he began a makeup apprenticeship at Walt Disney Studios.
In 1972, Winston established his own company, Stan Winston Studio, and won an Emmy Award for his effects work on the telefilm Gargoyles. Over the next seven years, Winston continued to receive Emmy nominations for work on projects and won another for 1974's The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Winston also created the Wookiee costumes for the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special.
In 1982, Winston received his first Oscar nomination for Heartbeeps, by which time he had set up his own studio. However, his ground-breaking work with Rob Bottin on the science fiction horror classic The Thing that year brought him to prominence in Hollywood. Between then, he contributed some visual effects to Friday the 13th Part III, in which he made a slightly different head sculpt of Jason in an unused ending.
In 1983 he also worked on a short-lived TV series Manimal, for which he created the panther and hawk transformation effects.
Winston reached a new level of fame in 1984 when James Cameron's The Terminator premiered. The movie was a surprise hit, and Winston's work in bringing the titular metallic killing machine to life led to many new projects and additional collaborations with Cameron. In fact, Winston won his first Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1986 on James Cameron's next movie, Aliens.
Over the next few years, Winston and his company received more accolades for its work on many more Hollywood films, including Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, John McTiernan's Predator, Alien Nation, The Monster Squad, and Predator 2.
In 1988, Winston made his directorial debut with the horror movie Pumpkinhead, and won Best First Time Director at the Paris Film Festival. His next directing project was the child-friendly A Gnome Named Gnorm (1990), starring Anthony Michael Hall.
James Cameron drafted Winston and his team once again in 1990, this time for the groundbreaking Terminator 2: Judgment Day. T2 premiered in the summer of 1991, and Winston's work on this box office hit won him two more Oscars for Best Makeup Effects and Best Visual Effects.
In 1992, he was nominated with yet another Tim Burton film, this time for Burton's superhero sequel, Batman Returns, where his effects on Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and in delivering Burton's general vision for what was an increasingly Gothic Gotham City earned him more recognition for his work ethic and loyalty to what was an intrinsic ability to bring different directors' ideas to life. It was particularly poignant because for Batman Returns, Winston had to follow on from Anton Furst's earlier work, and recreate change according to what Burton wanted to do differently the next time around.
Winston turned his attention from super villains and cyborgs to dinosaurs when Steven Spielberg enlisted his help to bring Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park to the cinema screen. In 1993, the movie became a blockbuster and Winston won another Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
In 1993, Winston, Cameron and ex-ILM General Manager Scott Ross co-founded Digital Domain, one of the foremost digital and visual effects studios in the world. In 1998, after the box office success of Titanic, Cameron and Winston severed their working relationship with the company and resigned from its board of directors.
Winston and his team continued to provide effects work for many more films and expanded their work into animatronics. Some of Winston's notable animatronics work can be found in The Ghost and the Darkness and T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, James Cameron's 3-D continuation of the Terminator series for the Universal Studios theme park. One of Winston's most ambitious animatronics projects was Steven Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence, which earned Winston another Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects.
In 1996, Winston directed and co-produced the longest and the most expensive music video of all time, Ghosts, which was based on an original concept of Michael Jackson and Stephen King. The long-form music video presented a number of never before seen visual effects, and promoted music from two consecutive Jackson albums, HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which went on to become the biggest selling double-album by a solo artist and remix album of all time, respectively (25 million (50 million units) and 13 million).
In 2001, Winston, together with Colleen Camp and Samuel Z. Arkoff's son, Lou Arkoff, produced a series of made-for-cable films for Cinemax and HBO. The five films, referred to as Creature Features, were inspired by the titles of AIP monster movies from the 1950s — i.e., Earth vs. the Spider (1958), How to Make a Monster (1958), Day the World Ended (1955), The She-Creature (1956), and Teenage Caveman (1958) — but had completely different plots.
In 2003, Stan Winston was invited by the Smithsonian Institution to speak about his life and career in a public presentation sponsored by The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. The presentation took place on November 15, 2003, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
In 2004, he expressed great disappointment when director Paul W. S. Anderson did not come to him for the creature effects for Alien vs. Predator, seeing as how he designed the Predator and the Alien Queen. "They're like my children to me," he stated.
Winston also worked on Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
At the time of his death, Winston was working on the sequel Terminator Salvation. According to reports, next for Stan Winston was Jurassic Park IV. Winston designed the original monsters that appeared in the Midway game The Suffering and its sequel, The Suffering: Ties That Bind. He was also helping with his old friend, film director James Cameron and his upcoming film Avatar.
Stan Winston died on June 15, 2008, in Malibu, California after suffering for seven years from multiple myeloma. A spokeswoman reported that he "died peacefully at home surrounded by family." Winston was with his wife and two children, actor Matt Winston and Debbie Winston. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a public speech about his death, and Jon Favreau dedicated his Spike TV Scream Award to him upon receiving the award for Best Sci-Fi Movie for Iron Man. Terminator Salvation starts and ends the credits with a dedication to him. After his death, his four supervisors (Shane Mahan, John Rosengrant, Alan Scott, Lindsay Macgowan) founded and built their own studio, Legacy Effects, aptly named to honor his memory.
Winston worked with the following directors on more than one film:
- Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, Big Fish)
- James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar)
- John Carpenter (The Thing, Starman)
- Dennis Dugan (The Benchwarmers, You Don't Mess with the Zohan)
- Jon Favreau (Zathura, Iron Man)
- Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, The Ghost and the Darkness)
- Peter Hyams (The Relic, End of Days)
- Frank Marshall (Congo, Eight Below)
- Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, A.I., War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
- Robert Zemeckis (Amazing Stories episode "Go to the Head of the Class", What Lies Beneath)
Academy Awards 
- 1982: Oscar Nomination For Best Makeup: Heartbeeps
- 1987: Won Oscar For Best Visual Effects: Aliens
- 1988: Oscar Nomination For Best Visual Effects: Predator
- 1991: Oscar Nomination For Best Makeup: Edward Scissorhands
- 1992: Won 2 Oscars – Best Visual Effects & Best Makeup: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
- 1993: Oscar Nomination For Best Makeup: Batman Returns
- 1993: Oscar Nomination For Best Visual Effects: Batman Returns
- 1994: Won Oscar For Best Visual Effects: Jurassic Park
- 1998: Oscar Nomination For Best Visual Effects: The Lost World: Jurassic Park
- 2002: Oscar Nomination For Best Visual Effects: A.I.
- The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974)
- The Bat People (1974)
- The Man in the Glass Booth (1975)
- Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976)
- The Wiz (1978)
- The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan (1979)
- The Exterminator (1980)
- Heartbeeps (Oscar Nomination) (1981)
- Dead & Buried (1981)
- Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
- The Thing (1982)
- The Terminator (1984)
- Ghoulies (1985)
- Invaders from Mars (1986)
- Aliens (Oscar Winner) (1986)
- The Monster Squad (1987)
- Predator (Oscar Nomination) (1987)
- Pumpkinhead (1988)
- Leviathan (1989)
- Edward Scissorhands (Oscar Nomination) (1990)
- Predator 2 (1990)
- Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Oscar Winner) (1991)
- Batman Returns (Oscar Nomination) (1992)
- Jurassic Park (Oscar Winner) (1993)
- Interview with the Vampire (1994)
- Congo (1995)
- The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
- The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996)
- T2 3-D: Battle Across Time (1996)
- The Relic (1997)
- Michael Jackson's Ghosts (1997)
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Oscar Nomination) (1997)
- Mouse Hunt (1997)
- Small Soldiers (1998)
- Instinct (1999)
- Lake Placid (1999)
- Inspector Gadget (1999)
- End of Days (1999)
- Galaxy Quest (1999)
- What Lies Beneath (2000)
- Pearl Harbor (2001)
- A.I. (Oscar Nomination) (2001)
- Jurassic Park III (2001)
- The Time Machine (2002)
- Darkness Falls (2003)
- Big Fish (2003)
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
- Wrong Turn (2003)
- Constantine (2005)
- Zathura (2005)
- War of the Worlds (2005)
- Doom (2005)
- Eight Below (2006)
- The Shaggy Dog (2006)
- The Benchwarmers (2006)
- Skinwalkers (2006)
- Iron Man (2008)
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
- You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008)
- Terminator Salvation (2009)
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
- Pandorum (2009)
- Avatar (2009)
- Shutter Island (2010)
- Enthiran (2010)
- "Stan Winston Biography (1946?-)". Filmreference.com. 1946-04-07. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
- Cohen, David S. (2008). "Effects master Stan Winston dies. Work included Jurassic Park, Terminator", Variety webpage retrieved 2008-06-16.
- Crabtree, Sheigh (2008). "Stan Winston, dead at 62; Oscar-winning visual effects artist suffered from multiple myeloma", Los Angeles Times, Entertainment industry news blog, June 16, 2008; online version retrieved 2008-06-16.
- Stan Winston Studio (2008). "Press Release" posted at Los Angeles Times Entertainment industry news blog, June 16, 2008; online version retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Center For Roboto Research And Preservation", webpage retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Bring on the Gore: Top Ten Practical Effects in Horror!". BloodyDisgusting.
- Biodrowski, Steve (June 2001). "Stan Winston's Creature Features". Cinefantastique. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- "Two-part podcast of the presentation given by Stan Winston as part of The Lemelson Center's "Inventing Ourselves" symposium". Invention.smithsonian.org. Retrieved 2011-07-20.
- McG (2008-05-22). "Terminator Salvation Blog". Official blog. Retrieved 2008-06-04.
- Franklin, Garth (2005). "Winston Talks Jurassic Park IV", webpage from Dark Horizons website. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
- "Stan Winston talks Jurassic Park IV". MoviesOnline.CA. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
- IGN FilmForce (2005-09-08). "Games to Film: The Suffering; Midway action-horror title to Hollywood". IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-06-18.