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Stan Winston’s creature features

By Patrick Kevin Day, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Stan Winston started out in Hollywood wanting to be an actor, but when that didn’t work out, he turned to makeup. Over the years, he expanded his skills to include animatronics and digital effects. After 36 years with his own makeup effect studio, Winston’s array of creatures is enough to inspire admiration (from adults) and fear (from all the kids who saw his movies).

His death comes as a shock to many. Look back at some of Winston’s most notable creature features and see the development of a true Hollywood wizard.

Stan Winston, dead at 62 (Titan Books)
‘The Star Wars Holiday Special’ (1978)

Creature: Wookiees

Stan’s touch: Winston was already an Emmy winner when he was tasked with expanding the “Star Wars” Wookiee family beyond Chewbacca. The little-seen TV special took Han, Luke and company to the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk. (Lucasfilm)
‘The Terminator’ (1984)

Creature: The Terminator

Stan’s touch: His design for the metal exo-skeleton that existed beneath Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s skin in James Cameron‘s sci-fi thriller won Winston worldwide acclaim. He expanded on the design in each subsequent “Terminator” film, showing whole armies of metal skeletons wreaking havoc on a future world. (Photo courtesy of ILM)
‘Aliens’ (1986)

Creature: Alien queen

Stan’s touch: Swiss artist HR Giger designed the creature for the first “Alien.” But Winston, in collaboration again with director James Cameron, expanded on the initial design to create the Alien Queen. The Queen helped win Winston his first Oscar for visual effects. (Twentieth Century Fox)
‘Predator’ (1987)

Creature: The Predator

Stan’s touch: One year after “Aliens,” Winston was back with two elements of his past success: Arnold Schwarzenegger and aliens. The alien hunter design earned Winston another Oscar nomination. (Twentieth Century Fox)
‘Edward Scissorhands’ (1990)

Creature: Edward Scissorhands

Stan’s touch: Winston took director Tim Burton‘s drawings and brought them to life for the hit film starring Johnny Depp. Winston also created the “Scissorhands effect” when Edward performs his speedy haircuts and hedge trimming. The film earned Winston another Oscar nomination. (Firooz Zahedi / Twentieth Century Fox)
‘Batman Returns’ (1992)

Creature: The Penguin

Stan’s touch: Reteaming with director Tim Burton, Winston once again took the cartoonish sketches of the former animator and turned them into workable makeup designs. The work put Danny DeVito in the makeup chair for two hours a day to create a look that he was forbidden to describe to anyone before the film was released. (Warner Bros.)
‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)

Creature: Dinosaurs

Stan’s touch: Working in tandem with digital effects artists at Industrial Light and Magic, Winston created some of the largest creatures of his career for Steven Spielberg‘s massive dinosaur epic. His full-size animatron of the Tyrannosauraus Rex weighed nearly 15,000 pounds. The film earned Winston his third Oscar for best visual effects. (Universal Studios)
‘Artificial Intelligence: AI’ (2001)

Creature: Teddy

Stan’s touch: Winston took his extensive knowledge of animatronics to create the robotic companion Teddy for Spielberg’s film. The hyper-realistic robot bear earned Winston yet another Oscar nomination. (David James, xx)
‘Iron Man’ (2008)

Creature: Iron Man

Stan’s touch: For his last major blockbuster, Winston took Iron Man armor designs by the chracter’s comic book artist and constructed them to be working costumes for Robert Downey Jr. (Zade Rosenthal / Associated Press)