"E.T."'s Carlo Rambaldi dies at 86

18 Aug – Three-time Academy Award winner Carlo Rambaldi, an Italian special effects virtuoso, who was best known as the father of "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial", died in Lamezia Terme, Calabria, in southern Italy after his long battle with an illness. He was 86, according to Empire Online.

Rambaldi made his mark in the movie industry by winning two Oscars for Best Visual Effects for Ridley Scott's classic sci-fi thriller "Alien" and Steven Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial". His third Oscar trophy came when he won a Special Achievement Academy Award for his brilliant work in John Guillermin's 1976 remake of "King Kong".

"Carlo Rambaldi was E.T.'s Geppetto," said Steven Spielberg, "All of us who marvelled and wondered at his craft and artistry are deeply saddened by the news of his passing."

Rambaldi brought E.T. to life on the silver screen by using mechatronics, a type of non-digital effect that combines mechanical, electronic and system design engineering.

He once said, "Digital costs around eight times as much as mechatronics. "E.T." cost a million dollars and we created it in three months. If we wanted to do the same thing with computers, it would take at least 200 people with a minimum of five months."

Rambaldi was born in Vigarano, Italy in 1925. He worked as an artist after attended the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna. He then helped paved the way for Italian films to its Golden Era when he created a fire-breathing dragon for the 1957 Italian film "Sigfredo".

In the 1970s, Rambaldi was asked by producer Dino de Laurentiis to lend them a helping hand in reinventing "King Kong" in 1976. Since then, he has made contributions to movies like "The Hand", "Dune", "Conan The Destroyer", "Silver Bullet" and "Possession". His final credits were "Primal Rage", "Decoy" and "A Friend From Space", all of which were directed by his son Vittorio Rambaldi.

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