A little over 30 years after his father (Gene Warren) won an Oscar for his special effects work on 1960’s The Time Machine, Fantasy II Film Effects owner Gene Warren Jr. took home a statue from the Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects for his work on 1992's Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which took home four Oscars that year.
Unfortunately, we've learned the sad news today that the legendary effects artist Gene Warren Jr. passed away last week at the age of 77.
Warren Jr.'s friend and fellow special effects artist Bart J. Mixon wrote over on Facebook, "Gene WAS Fantasy II Film Effects – supervising the visual effects for SO many classics of the ’80’s. Gene gave me my big break in Hollywood when he asked me to set up a creature effects department at Fantasy II. Our first project together was Fright Night Part Two, followed by Stephen King’s IT, Danger Island and Magic in the Water. I also worked for Gene in their model shop on shows like Terminator 2 and Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Gene also employed my brother, Bret, for most of his film career. He gave us both many great opportunities and he will be sorely missed."
Gene's passing marks the deaths of two insanely talented effects artists in just a week, as Brent Baker passed away just before Thanksgiving.
And much like Baker, Gene Warren Jr. lent his talents to many beloved genre films throughout the '80s, including The Terminator, The Return of the Living Dead, Fright Night Part 2, Eliminators, Critters, Bad Dreams, Cyborg, Lady in White, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Pet Sematary and The Abyss.
His other notable genre film credits include Tremors, Roger Corman's Frankenstein Unbound, IT (1990), Dr. Giggles, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nemesis, Freaked, Lord of Illusions, Scream 3, The Mothman Prophecies, the Underworld films and "Sleepy Hollow".
Cinefex also paid tribute to the effects master, writing "Gene was a passionate political activist, and an adherent of hand-crafted, in-camera practical effects. In recent years, Gene taught an introduction to, and history of pre-digital visual effects at University of Southern California, he wrote several novels, and he developed a talent for karaoke, particularly Roy Orbison."
Another cinematic legend has left this plane of existence, but his impressive legacy will live on. We extend our deepest condolences to Gene's family and friends.