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Arnold Spielberg, computer pioneer and father of Steven Spielberg, dies at 103

Arnold Spielberg sits in a wheelchair while posing for a photo with his family
Arnold Spielberg is surrounded by his children Nancy, Steven, Anne and Sue in 2017.
(Associated Press)

Arnold Spielberg, an early-day computer designer who encouraged his son Steven to become a filmmaker and later became an inspiration for the film “Saving Private Ryan,” has died in Los Angeles at age 103.

Spielberg died Tuesday of natural causes, his son’s film production company, Amblin Entertainment, said in a statement.

“After more than a century of contributions and commitment to his family, friends, and career, Arnold Meyer Spielberg, father of Steven, Anne, Sue and Nancy Spielberg, passed away of natural causes on August 25, 2020,” reads Amblin’s statement. “Our deepest condolences to the Spielberg family.”

Steven Spielberg — known for directing films such as “Jurassic Park,” “Jaws,” “E.T.” and the “Indiana Jones” series — was with his father at the time of his death, Variety reported.

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Arnold Spielberg was an accomplished engineer who worked for General Electric, among many other companies, during his career.

“When I see a PlayStation, when I look at a cellphone — from the smallest calculator to an iPad — I look at my dad and I say, ‘My dad and a team of geniuses started that,’” Steven Spielberg said in a statement.

The director and his siblings said in a statement to the entertainment outlet that their father showed them how to “love to research, expand their mind, keep their feet on the ground, but reach for the stars [and] look up.”

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Arnold Spielberg joined the U.S. Army in December 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor — a stint that his son famously drew from while making the classic 1998 war movie “Saving Private Ryan,” which starred Tom Hanks, Edward Burns and Matt Damon.

The love of creating started at a young age for Spielberg, who was born in Cincinnati in 1917 and began tinkering in a makeshift lab in his family’s attic at age 6, according to the family’s statement

After joining GE in 1956, Spielberg worked on a team that crafted the GE-200 series of computers.

Spielberg is survived by his children Steven, Anne, Sue and Nancy; 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His wife, Bernice, died in 2016. His former wife, Leah, died in 2017.


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