Stan Winston

About Legendary Character Creator Stan Winston

Stan Winston
(1946 - 2008)

Born in Richmond, VA, Stan Winston originally came to Hollywood in 1969 as an aspiring actor. While waiting for his big break, and with a young family to support, Winston began working as an apprentice makeup artist under the head of the Disney Studios makeup department, Robert J. Schiffer. Winston did not enter the field on a whim; as a child he'd been fascinated by puppetry and maskmaking. While at Disney, that fascination became a passion and Winston found himself with a new career.

Over the next 40 years, Stan Winston led his team of modern-day Renaissance artists as they created one iconic character after another, from Aliens to Predators, Terminators to T-Rexes, Iron Men to Avatars. In return, Winston received ten Academy Award® nominations and won four. He is one of three effects artists in Hollywood history to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (along with Ray Harryhausen and ILM's Dennis Muren). His other awards include two Emmy® wins and six nominations, and five BAFTA award nominations and three wins. He also won a Clio® for television commercials and many other industry awards.

One of the preeminent pioneers in Character Effects history, Stan Winston led the industry in embracing the “Hybrid” approach – combining robotics, digitally-enhanced makeups, sophisticated puppetry, and CGI, to create fantasy characters that defied the imagination, and truly lived. Winston never professed a preference for any specific technique, rather, he’d insist on using whatever method was ‘best for the shot,’ utilizing all the tools at the filmmaker’s disposal in his single-minded pursuit of creating totally believable characters.

In addition to his creature effects work, Winston directed three films, PUMPKINHEAD (1988), A GNOME NAMED GNORM (1990), and T2 3-D; BATTLE ACROSS TIME (1996). He also co-wrote the story and directed Michael Jackson's GHOSTS (1997). The new millennium saw Winston taking on the role of producer with HBOs CREATURE FEATURES (2001), WRONG TURN (2003), THE DEATHS OF IAN STONE (2007), SPEED DEMON (announced for 2011), and his upcoming passion project, ME AND MY MONSTER  (in development).

In his private life, Winston was a dedicated family man, advocate of education, and philanthropist who sat on the board of directors of Free Arts for Abused Children. In addition to his many entertainment awards, he was proud to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the country's largest art college, the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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