PASSINGS: Grant McCune, Roger Milliken

Grant McCune

Effects artist shared Oscar for ‘Star Wars’

Grant McCune, 67, a member of the team that won the Academy Award for visual effects in 1978 for George Lucas’ “Star Wars,” died Monday at his home in Hidden Hills, said his wife, Kathy. He had pancreatic cancer.

McCune was the chief model maker in the miniature and optical effects unit for the first film produced in Lucas’ “Star Wars” series and shared the visual effects Oscar with John Stears, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund and Robert Blalack. As miniatures supervisor for the 1979 film “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” McCune was in the group nominated for the Academy Award for visual effects.


While working in the model shop of Apogee Productions, McCune created models for such big-screen productions as “Firefox,” “Spaceballs” and “Ghostbusters II,” among others.

He then established his own visual effects design company and worked on films including “Speed,” “Batman Forever,” “U-571,” " Spider-Man 2" and “Rambo.” He also was credited as a special animator on “Caddyshack.”

Born March 27, 1943, in Los Angeles, McCune earned a degree in biology from what is now Cal State Northridge and began working as a lab technician. He got a job making props for Stephen Spielberg’s 1975 blockbuster “Jaws,” and although he received no credit, he was on his way to a new career in the entertainment industry.

McCune and his wife, whom he met at CSUN and married in 1982, had two children.


Roger Milliken

Textile magnate was among richest in U.S.

Roger Milliken, 95, a textile magnate who at one time was ranked among the wealthiest people in the United States and who helped turn South Carolina’s Republican Party into a powerhouse, died Thursday in Spartanburg, S.C., Milliken & Co. spokesman Richard Dillard said. The cause was not given.

Milliken was born in New York City in 1915 and graduated from Yale University in 1937. He started work in the New York office of the Mercantile Stores his family partially owned, employed as a “follow-up boy” making sure coats and suits were delivered to stores.


Milliken became president of Milliken & Co. when his father died in 1947. He served as president until 1983, when he became chairman and chief executive.

As leader of Milliken & Co., he expanded his family’s business from a handful of plants to 50 manufacturing facilities in seven countries. He stepped away from day-to-day management of the company in 2005 but remained chairman of the board.

In 2000, Milliken was ranked 338th on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans, with an estimated worth of $850 million. His wealth peaked at $1 billion in 2003, according to Forbes, but he fell off the list two years later as the U.S. textile industry declined.

He contributed to the widespread adoption of bar coding, rapid response standards, supplier recognition and many other practices now standard in the industry. He also was a leader in the “Crafted with Pride in the U.S.A.” program developed to combat imported textile goods in the early 1980s.


— Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports