Glen Robinson (visual effects)

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Thomas Glenn Robinson
Born(1914-09-20)September 20, 1914
Idaho, USA
DiedMarch 27, 2002(2002-03-27) (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California, USA
OccupationVisual effects artist
Years active1936–1984

Thomas Glenn Robinson, better known as Glen Robinson (September 20, 1914 – March 27, 2002), was an American special and visual effects artist, winner of six Academy Awards: two Academy Awards for Technical Achievement[1] and four Special Achievement Academy Awards.[2] As a special effects artist, his career spans over six decades from the mid-1930s to the mid-1980s, having worked literally on dozens of films.


Glen Robinson was born Thomas Glenn Robinson in Idaho on September 20, 1914. When aged twelve his family moved to Los Angeles city and in 1932, at the age of 18, he graduated from Venice High School. In 1936 he was hired by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer company, where he became the studio's top special effects coordinator.

Alongside his special effects career, Robinson was an engineer of roller coaster and double Ferris wheel attractions at amusement and theme parks that included Magic Mountain (Golden, Colorado; Valencia, California), Pleasure Island (Wakefield, Massachusetts), Freedomland U.S.A. (New York) and Space City USA (near Huntsville, Alabama). In the book, Freedomland U.S.A.: The Definitive History (Theme Park Press, 2019), Robinson is credited for his work at the park. However, his specific contributions to Freedomland remain undetermined. Space City USA never was completed.

Glen Robinson died of natural causes on March 27, 2002 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. He was aged 87 and at the moment of his death he was survived by five children (two sons and three daughters), fourteen grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren.[3]

Selected filmography[edit]


Two Academy Awards for Technical Achievement[edit]

  • 1952 (24th): "for the development of a new music wire and cable cutter"
  • 1960 (32nd): "for the design of a multiple-cable, remote-controlled winch", shared with Winfield Hubbard and Luther Newman, both from the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Construction Department

Four Special Achievement Academy Awards[edit]


  1. ^ Glen Robinson as mentioned in the Awards Database[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ David Samuelson, Hands-on Manual for Cinematographers, Focal Press edition (2013), based on the second edition (1998, first published 1994), ISBN 978-0-240-51480-2 (p. 21)
  3. ^ Doug Galloway, Thomas ‘Glen’ Robinson: Special Effects Pioneer, May 1, 2002, (US Edition)

External links[edit]