Steven R. Kutcher
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|Steven R Kutcher|
|Pseudonym||The Bug Man of Hollywood|
|Born||January 9, 1944|
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Genres||Bug wrangling, bug art|
|Notable works and roles||Arachnophobia, Jurassic Park, Spider-Man (2002)|
Steven R. Kutcher (born January 9, 1944) is an American entomologist who has worked for decades as a "wrangler" of insects and other arthropods in some of the highest-grossing productions and with some of the most famous people in the entertainment industry. In doing so, he has himself gained media attention worldwide as "The Bug Man of Hollywood." In recent years, Kutcher has attracted additional notice by using insects as "living brushes" to create "Bug Art," while continuing his work as a naturalist and an educator.
Background, education, and training
Born in Manhattan, New York, Steven R. Kutcher as a young child collected fireflies in the Catskill Mountains. Later growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles, California, Kutcher collected insects around his home, in fields, and in the Santa Monica Mountains. At age 19, Kutcher traveled 3000 miles around Mexico, exploring desert to tropical ecosystems.
Kutcher received a bachelors degree in entomology from the University of California, Davis, in 1968; and a Master of Science degree in biology from the California State University, Long Beach, in 1975. His formal studies focused on insect behavior — in particular the aggregating behavior of the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus — as he observed in the field, in laboratory experiments, and in time-lapse cinematography.
In 1970, Kutcher began his work in the entertainment industry as "Larry J. Felix" in The Stein and Illes Radio Show, a comedic "underground" radio show on KUSC, in Southern California; James R. Stein and Robert Illes would both become Emmy Award–winning TV writers and producers. Kutcher received comedic training from Bill Cosby and once had Robin Williams as an audience.
"The Bug Man of Hollywood"
Since 1977, Kutcher has manipulated the instinctive behaviors of arthropods, and the instinctive reactions of audiences, mostly in the horror, thriller, fantasy, and comedy genres. He has worked on over 100 feature films with a "bug" in the story line, including Spider-Man (2002), Jurassic Park, and Arachnophobia. Kutcher has also worked on numerous popular television shows—including CSI: NY, MacGyver, and The X-Files – as well as TV commercials and online advertising for Fortune 500 corporations. (See Filmography and other credits, with featured "bugs," below).
In film, on TV and radio, and in music videos, Kutcher has notably worked with some of the most famous people in the entertainment industry, including Paula Abdul, Christina Aguilera, Steve Allen, Halle Berry, Carol Burnett, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Bill Cosby, Wes Craven, M.C. Hammer, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, James Earl Jones, David Lynch, Carl Reiner, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Williams, and Stevie Wonder.
As "The Bug Man of Hollywood," Kutcher has himself been the subject of numerous interviews. He has appeared, with "bugs," on late-night TV talk shows, including The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman. In 1992, Kutcher appeared as a guest on the Emmy-nominated "Spider Episode" of the TV talk show parody The Larry Sanders Show, starring Garry Shandling. In 1998, Kutcher appeared on the British TV children's show The Scoop, which won a BAFTA award. Kutcher has also been interviewed or featured in numerous publications in print and online, including Entertainment Weekly, Guinness Book of Records, Los Angeles Times, National Enquirer, National Geographic World, Nature, Newsweek, New York Times, Popular Science, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Time, The Wall Street Journal, Weekly Reader, and Wired as well as periodicals in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom. (See Further reading, below.)
Manipulating insect behavior
Applying his academic and professional studies of arthropod behaviors, Kutcher manipulates instinctive responses—such as species-specific, positive or negative sensitivity to light, air pressure, or gravity—to make "bugs" perform scripted "tricks" on cue, such as:
- A live wasp flies harmlessly into the mouth of actor Roddy McDowell.
- A cockroach runs across the floor and then, "hitting its mark", flips over on its back.
- A spider crawls across a room and then into a slipper.
- A cockroach crawls out of a shoe, walks up a bag of snack food and onto a surfing magazine, and then stops upon a picture of a surfboard.
- A praying mantis, a scorpion, and beetles power-up a cell phone as part of a "Bug Circus" in online ad (a la a traditional flea circus).
- Hundreds of bees or thousands of locusts swarm on camera as called for in the script.
In the 1980s, for a Steven Spielberg television project, Steven Kutcher made a fly walk through ink and leave footprints as directed. Since 2000, Steven Kutcher has been creating "Bug Art," using various arthropods as "living brushes" to apply gouache and other nontoxic paints on watercolor paper. "I use water-based, nontoxic paints that easily wash off", he says. "I have to take good care of them. After all, they are artists!" The abstract to surrealistic compositions are shaped by Kutcher's methods of manipulating insect movements, and are often influenced by the works of Impressionist and other master painters.
Contributions as scientist, naturalist, and educator
Steven Kutcher has appeared in person to give talks and live-insect demonstrations at hundreds of film festivals, seminars and workshops, museums and libraries, and preschools through graduate schools. Kutcher has been instrumental in creating annual insect fairs, as at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and Los Angeles County Arboretum, which have been attended by more than 100,000 children and adults. Kutcher also served as a consultant in the development of the interactive "bug" exhibits at the Kidspace Children's Museum, in Pasadena, California.
Kutcher has taught outdoor education workshops for such environmental organizations as the Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, and Tree People. With a milkweed butterfly garden of his own, Kutcher is on the board of the Monarch Program Kutcher has consulted on the biology and control of arthropods for major corporations and government agencies, such as the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.
For over 30 years, Kutcher has taught entomology, zoology, and biology courses at several community colleges in the greater Los Angeles area.
Filmography and other credits (in part)
In addition to serving as "bug wrangler" or entomology consultant for numerous student and independent films, Kutcher has worked on many feature films from major studios and production companies:
|We Bought a Zoo||2011||Swarm of honey bees|
|G-Force||2009||Tarantula, cockroach (test shots for animation)|
|National Treasure: Book of Secrets||2007||Beetles etc.|
|The Hitcher||2007||Spiders, scorpion|
|Spider-Man||2002||Spiders (wrangled live spiders and consulted on cgi spiders, as "The Spider Man Behind Spider-Man")|
|Wild Wild West||1998||Tarantula|
|Lost Highway||1997||Spider, moths|
|Alien: Resurrection||1997||Spider (with web)|
|L.A. Confidential||1996||Maggots (on body under house)|
|D3: The Mighty Ducks||1996||Ants|
|James and the Giant Peach||1996||Dwarf tarantulas (in costume)|
|A Very Brady Sequel||1996||Tarantula|
|Copycat||1995||Carpenter ants (covering Sigourney Weaver)|
|Matilda||1995||Cockroach (and newt)|
|A Walk in the Clouds||1995||Butterflies|
|Leprechaun 2||1994||Cockroaches (green) and tarantulas|
|Jurassic Park||1993||Mosquitoes (live and "prehistoric," simulated by crane fly in "amber")|
|The Temp||1993||Wasps, scorpions, cockroaches|
|Meet the Applegates||1991||Praying mantis, tarantula|
|Arachnophobia||1990||Spiders, crickets, etc.|
|Back to the Future Part II||1989||Various insects (pinned etc. in displays)|
|Fright Night II||1989||Mealworms etc.|
|Police Academy 6: City Under Siege||1989||Cabbage white butterflies (as "moths")|
|A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors||1987||Dragonfly, fly|
|The Golden Child||1986||Monarch butterfly|
|The Goonies||1985||Leech (scene cut)|
|Exorcist II: The Heretic||1977||Locusts (grasshoppers)|
|TV production||Year||Featured "bugs"|
|An Inconvenient Woman||c. 1991||Fly|
|Bernie Mac Show, The||2003||Mealworm beetles|
|Boy Meets World||c. 1997, 1999||Snails, bees|
|Buck Rogers in the 25th Century||c. 1980||Dragonflies|
|Criminal Minds||2012, 2013, 2013||Maggots, flies, waxworms, praying mantis|
|Family Matters||c. 1995||Giant mealworms|
|Kung Fu: The Movie||1986||Grasshopper|
|Larry Sanders Show, the (Emmy-nominated "The Spider Episode")||1996||Tarantulas|
|Laverne and Shirley Reunion||2002||Cockroaches etc.|
|Life with Bonnie (The Bonnie Hunt Show)||2004||Honey bee|
|Power Rangers||1994||Praying mantis, cockroaches|
|Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo||1977||Tarantulas|
|Women of Brewster Place, The||1989||Cockroach|
|The X-Files||1999, 2005||Flies, moths|
|The Young and the Restless||1991||Ants|
|Paula Abdul||Butterflies (in display case)|
|Alice Cooper||Welcome to My Nightmare||Scorpions, mealworms|
|Godsmack||"I Stand Alone"||2002||Scorpion|
|Billy Idol||"L.A. Woman"||1990||Cockroach, mealworm|
|Janet Jackson||"Together Again" (Deeper Remix)||1997||Butterfly|
|Michael Jackson||"Stranger in Moscow"||1996||Wasp|
|No Doubt||Don't Speak||1996||Fly, mealworms|
|Market segment||Brands||Featured "bugs"|
|Automobiles||Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Kia, Lexus, Mini Cooper, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen||Bees, beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, flies, grasshoppers, ladybugs, scorpions, spider webs|
|Consumer electronics||Apple, Dell, Goldstar, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, Kodak, Nintendo Game Boy, Panasonic, Polaroid, Sega, Sony, TDK, VCR Plus||Ants, bees, butterflies, flies, moths, praying mantids, snails|
|Consumer goods (misc.)||Adidas, All, Anderson Windows, Avia, Dial Soap, Dockers, Evinrude, Galoop Toys, Gladlock, Hallmark, K-Mart, Kleenex, Levi Strauss, Lowes, Nike, Northern Bathroom Tissue, Omega Watch, Revlon, Sears, Snuggles, Standard Brands Paint, Stainmaster, Sunlight Detergent, Swatch||Bees, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, cockroaches, flies, ladybugs, mosquitoes, moths, spiders|
|Energy||Chevron, Florida Power and Light, Mobil, Sempra||Ants, beetles, butterflies, flies, ladybugs, spider webs|
|Entertainment||Cartoon Network, PGA, Virginia Lottery, WCW||Ants, beetles, cockroaches, flies, mealworms|
|Fast food and other restaurants||Applebee's, Carl's Jr., Dunkin' Donuts, KFC, McDonald's, Seven-Eleven, Souplantation, Taco Bell||Bees, butterflies, moth cocoons, praying mantids|
|Finance and insurance||Blue Cross, Capital One, Chase, Fuji Bank, Hartford Insurance, Interstate Bank, Premier Insurance, Tri-County Health, Barclay's||Bees, butterflies, caterpillars, ladybugs, millipedes, walkingsticks|
|Food and beverages||Gerber's, Bud Light, Dr. Pepper, Dryer's, Gallo, Jolly Rancher, Mauna Loa, Michelob, Milk Advisory Board ("Got Milk?"), Moet, Orida potatoes, Pepsi, Planter's, Reese's Pieces, Rath Blackhawk bacon, Smith's Markets, Snickers, Zima||Ants, bees, butterflies, caterpillars, flies, Jerusalem crickets, moths, tarantulas and other spiders, wasps|
|Industrial and commodities||Alcoa, Georgia Pacific, Monsanto||Ants, butterflies, moths, spider webs|
|Pest control||Combat, Orkin, Ortho, Scott's||Ants, butterflies, cockroaches, grubs, termites|
|Public service announcements (PSAs)||AD Council, Partnership for a Drug-Free America||Bugs (misc.), leeches|
|Telecom||AT&T, Atlantic Bell, Bell Canada, Qualcomm, Telecom Italia, Verizon||Bees, beetles, butterflies, cockroaches, mealworms, mosquitoes, praying mantids, scorpions, tarantulas|
- Animal training, citing "niche" filled by Steven Kutcher.
- Arthropods in film, citing work by Steven R. Kutcher.
- List of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson episodes (1990), Jay Leno (guest host), with Steve Kutcher as guest, Ep. No. 4201, August 7, 1990.
- Steatoda grossa, citing work by Steven Kutcher with that species of spider in Spider-Man.
- Steven R. Kutcher in IMDB
- Bugs Are My Business
- Bug Man of Hollywood Shares Tips on How to Train Bugs for the Big Screen, KCAL/KCBS TV.
- NPR Staff (8 March 2014). "Hollywood Bug Man Understands How Cockroaches Think". Weekend Edition Saturday. NPR.
- Thomas, Nick (19 August 2007). "He Lets Creepy-Crawlies Get Their Feet Wet as Painters". The Washington Post.
- Kutcher, Steven (1971). "Two Types of Aggregation Grouping in the Large Milkweed Bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus (Hemiptera: Lygaeidae)". Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences. 70 (2): 85–90.
- "The Larry Sanders Show (TV Series) The Spider Episode (1992)". IMDb.
- 1998 BAFTA Award for Children's Factual production
- "Snapdragon Apresenta - The Bug Circus Generator".
- Bug Art by Steven, official Web site
- on YouTube
- Thomas, Nick (28 November 2007). "Exhibit Reviewed: The art of arthropods". Nature.
- "Kidspace Children's Museum".
- Kutcher, Steven (2002). "Two Incredible Journeys". The Monarch Quarterly. XII (2): 3.
- Trivedi, Bijal P. (2 May 2002). "The Spider Man Behind Spider-man". National Geographic Today.
- Heltzel, Paul (4 March 2013). "Bugs Make Art: Photos". Discovery News.
- "Steven R. Kutcher". IMDb. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- Mitchell, Sandra. "'Bug Man of Hollywood' Shares Tips [on] How to Train Bugs for The Big Screen". KCBS-TV. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Trivedi, Bijal (2 May 2002), The Spider Man Behind Spider-man, National Geographic Society
- NPR, Staff. "Hollywood Bug Man Understands How Cockroaches Think". NPR. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
- Solomon, Michael (5 June 2013). "Wild at Art: Astonishing Paintings, Sculptures, and Photographs by Animal Artists". Time.
- Thomas, Nick (19 August 2007), "He Lets Creepy-Crawlies Get Their Feet Wet as Painters", The Washington Post
- Marquardt, Bridget. "The Bug Wrangler". Yahoo Animal Nation Shine.
- Kutcher, Steven. "E-Zip Bug Collector". YouTube.
- Wired Magazine. May 2012. p. 113. Missing or empty
- Le Republica (Italy). July 2009. Missing or empty
- Velvet Magazine (Italy). July 2009. Missing or empty
- Muy Interesante. November 2008. pp. 112–115. Missing or empty
- Pasadena Star News (Earth Day Supplement). 22 April 2008. Missing or empty
- Washington Post. 19 August 2007. p. N01. Missing or empty
- Nature. 29 November 2007. p. 613. Missing or empty
- ÇA M'Interesse (France). June 2007. p. 106. Missing or empty
- K Club (Germany). August 2004. p. 36. Missing or empty
- The Santa Fe New Mexican ("Steven Hutcher" [sic]). 6 December 2002. p. B-1. Missing or empty
- Current Science. 25 October 2002. p. Front Page. Missing or empty
- The Beach Review (California State University, Long Beach). Fall 2002. p. 29. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Business Journal. 30 September 2002. p. 23. Missing or empty
- Cineflex. July 2002. pp. 29–31. Missing or empty
- National Enquirer. 11 June 2002. p. 39. Missing or empty
- West Australian. 6 June 2002. Missing or empty
- Popular Science. June 2002. p. 76. Missing or empty
- New York Times. May 2002. Missing or empty
- Sydney Herald. May 2002. Missing or empty
- Chicago Sun Times. May 2002. Missing or empty
- Sunday Mirror. May 2002. Missing or empty
- Press Telegram (Long Beach, California). 11 May 2002. p. Front Page. Missing or empty
- Teen Newsweek. 6 May 2002. pp. 5–6. Missing or empty
- National Geographic World. May 2002. pp. 26–27. Missing or empty
- Neüe Zurcher Zeitung, NZZ Folio. July 2001. pp. 50–53. Missing or empty
- Wall Street Journal. 29 March 2001. p. Front Page. Missing or empty
- Newsweek. 8 January 2001. p. 9. Missing or empty
- Boys' Life. 12 October 1998. Missing or empty
- San Jose Mercury News (Silicon Valley Life). 11 October 1998. p. 1. Missing or empty
- San Francisco Chronicle. 5 May 1998. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times Magazine. 4 April 1998. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Business Journal. 4 April 1998. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times (San Fernando Valley Weekend). 28 August 1997. p. 7. Missing or empty
- Boston Herald (Life Styles). 30 May 1997. Missing or empty
- National Enquirer. 31 December 1996. p. 39. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times (San Gabriel Valley Weekly). September 1996. Missing or empty
- Various Newspapers (via Associated Press). June 1996. Missing or empty
- U.C., Davis Magazine. Spring 1996. pp. 24–25. Missing or empty
- Telegraph (Sydney, Australia). 7 May 1995. p. 43. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Magazine. August 1995. pp. 60–67. Missing or empty
- Scholastic Math Power. February 1993. pp. 8–9. Missing or empty
- Boys' Life. April 1992. Missing or empty
- Disney Adventures Magazine. February 1992. pp. 40–43. Missing or empty
- Press Telegram (Long Beach, California). 23 October 1991. p. D-1. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times (L.A. Times Magazine). 29 September 1991. p. 8. Missing or empty
- Science World (Cover Article). 8 March 1991. pp. 4–7. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times. 23 March 1991. p. B-3. Missing or empty
- Woman's Day. 30 October 1990. p. 152. Missing or empty
- Variety. 8 October 1990. p. N-1. Missing or empty
- Pest Control Technology. September 1990. pp. 36–37. Missing or empty
- Expressen Fredag. 28 September 1990. p. 6. Missing or empty
- Weekly Reader. 14 September 1990. p. 7. Missing or empty
- L.A. Weekly. 31 August 1990. p. 41. Missing or empty
- Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderddale, Florida). 7 August 1990. p. 1–E. Missing or empty
- New Hampshire Sunday News. 5 August 1990. p. 5–E. Missing or empty
- The Yuma Daily Sun. 29 July 1990. p. 25. Missing or empty
- Entertainment Weekly. 27 July 1990. p. 37. Missing or empty
- The Philadelphia Inquirer. 22 July 1990. p. H-1. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times (Calendar). 18 July 1990. p. F-6. Missing or empty
- Wall Street Journal. 12 December 1989. p. Front Page. Missing or empty
- Sky (Delta Air Lines). September 1989. p. 20. Missing or empty
- Premiere. June 1989. p. 46. Missing or empty
- Katso (Finland). May 1989. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Business Journal. 7 November 1988. p. 19. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times. 14 February 1988. Missing or empty
- Piccolo (Sweden). 1988 or 1989. Check date values in:
|date=(help); Missing or empty
- 3-2-1 Contact. November 1986. pp. 10–13. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Magazine. May 1986. p. 21. Missing or empty
- Herald Examiner (California Living). 13 April 1986. p. 15. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times. 22 December 1985. p. 4:27. Missing or empty
- Huntington Beach Independent (Orange County News). 22 February 1979. p. 23. Missing or empty
- Los Angeles Times. 9 April 1978. p. 7. Missing or empty
- El Vaquero (Glendale Community College). 5 November 1976. p. 4. Missing or empty
Journals and books
- Baron, Angela (2010). Squirrely Over Nuts (caterpillar footprints).
- Berenbaum, May (1995). Bugs in the System.
- Bhagwat, Abha (2012). Who We Are 'Olkha Aamhi Kon?' (ant footprints).
- Dale, N. (1986). Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California.
- Gerani, Garry (1995). Death Ship (cover, by Cliff Nielsen).
- Gordon, D. (1996). The Complete Cockroach.
- Gordon, D. (1998). The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook.
- Guinness Book of Records. 2009.
- Hogue, Charles (1987). "Cultural Entomology". Annual Review of Entomology.
- Hogue, Charles (1993). Insects of the Los Angeles Basin.
- Jackson, Donna (2002). The Bug Scientists. Houghton Mifflin and Company. pp. 87–90.
- Mertins, James (1986). "Arthropods on the Screen". Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America (Summer): 85–90.
- Pallenberg, Barbara (1977). The Making of The Exorcist II: The Heretic.
- Rothstein, Barry; Rothstein, Betsy (2011). Eye-Popping 3-D Bugs.
- Ripley's Believe It or Not. Prepared to be Shocked!. 2008. p. 21.
- Starcher, A. (1995). Good Bugs for Your Garden.
- Tekulsy, M. (1985). The Butterfly Garden.
- Time for Kids. Big Book of How. 2011. p. 19.
- Cotta Vaz, Mark (2002). Behind the Mask of Spider-Man. Del Rey, Ballantine Publishing Group. pp. 48–50.