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Movies Star Wars Prequels Entertainment

R2-D2 Creator Grant McCune Dead At 67 37

CBC reports on sad news for Star Wars fans: "Grant McCune, a special effects artist who earned an Oscar for his work on the 1977 film Star Wars, has died. He was 67. McCune died Monday at his home in Hidden Hills, Calif., of pancreatic cancer. McCune created scenes with miniatures, models and special effects for dozens of movies, including Spaceballs, Ghostbusters II and 2008's Rambo. He began in special effects in 1975 when he and friend Bill Shourt were hired to make a giant white shark model for Steven Spielberg's Jaws. They got no credit for the film, but McCune caught the eye of the film community and he became chief model maker for Star Wars, where he created R2-D2 and many of the creatures that populate the film."
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R2-D2 Creator Grant McCune Dead At 67

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  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @07:12PM (#34725420) Homepage

    "Bleep boop beep boink"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    mournful beeps

  • "So George (Lucas) took me upstairs. He showed me Wookies and all kinds of different animals. About this time, my headache got much worse."

    I see your upside-down garbage can and raise you a creepy woman with her Gom Jabar.

  • Weren't they uncredited in the movie Jaws because the robot hardly worked when they wanted it to?

    • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @07:33PM (#34725592) Homepage Journal

      Weren't they uncredited in the movie Jaws because the robot hardly worked when they wanted it to?

      Must have been the inspiration for the Millennium Falcon.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Weren't they uncredited in the movie Jaws because the robot hardly worked when they wanted it to?

      Grant didn't build the mechanics. It wasn't his fault. Also it had never been done before so the team underestimated the stress the rig would be under. The only things like this that had been done were done in tanks not out in the open ocean. Spielberg was the one that started the BS about the shark not working. He recently admitted that the film was better because he originally intended to use the shark a lot more which wouldn't have worked as well. The effects crews take the blame never the studios that d

  • I thought I was a fan but I didn't know this guy even existed until he died, but then that is true for 99.999% of everyone else in the world so nvm I am going to crawl back into my hole now.

  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Friday December 31, 2010 @08:35PM (#34725966) Journal

    ...was on the movie US Marshals. As part of the film, the plane holding the prisoner escapes after a 727 crash. Grant McCune built a 1/3 scale 727 fuselage for the film, it was amazing!

    His shop at the time was chock full of every type of model and rig that I could imagine, and several that I couldn't, with his crew of model makers feverishly working on the next projects as ours was finishing up.

    At the time he kept his Oscar under a stocking cap on a shelf in his office. Legend has it that he would occasionally pick up the hat to make sure it was still there. I suppose he wanted it close, without it creating a spectacle (as a real Oscar inevitably is)

    RIP Grant. Good times...

  • by ohiovr ( 1859814 )
    My Dad died of pancreatic cancer at age 67 same as this fellow. Its a terrible disease I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
  • by NicknamesAreStupid ( 1040118 ) on Friday December 31, 2010 @09:16PM (#34726242)
    Say 'goodbye' as he would appreciate -- http://www.r2d2translator.com/ [r2d2translator.com].
  • I thought I felt a disturbance in the force...

  • Call me Anakin R2 held data from the Dark Side of the force! Tell you what though Natalie Portman is far more sexy than R2D2 and not gay like C3PO.
  • http://www.righthealth.com/topic/vitamin_d_may_reduce_risk_of_pancreatic_cancer/overview/healthology20 [righthealth.com]
    http://www.vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page=Iodine+-+how+much+is+needed+July+2010 [vitamindwiki.com]
    http://www.lmreview.com/articles/view/iodine-the-next-vitamin-d-part-I/ [lmreview.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPiR9VcuVWw [youtube.com]

    The above links are on how others may be able to help prevent such cancers to some extent, especially us indoor techy types who may not be that into good nutrition or sunshine.

    Just before Star Wars came out, I had developed my own R2-D2 shaped robot, inspired in part by a commercial cylindrical vacuum with a dome top my family had. My family had given that vacuum my oldest sister when they got a new one, and I had to ask her for it (and she was nice enough to give it to me) and I took out the motor and extended it with a big can (from tar for basement tiles IIRC) in the middle between the base and the dome top. My father (who worked around a machine shop) machined a gripping claw for it and helped with some of the other mechanical aspects like brackets for the two drive motors on either side of it. I did the electronics and some of the mechanical stuff plus the overall design. It won first prize in the Long Island Junior Science Congress (around 1977). I called it a "radioactive material transporter", as I had seen robots at Brookhaven National Labs that did that. I have some pictures of that version somewhere (and it was in local papers). One version had an arm in the front with a gripper and an arm in the back with an electromagnet (I kept changing it around a bit). I used strings with motors and pulleys to pull the arms up and down. The strings would jam now and then.

    After Star Wars came out, I had to keep telling people, no, it wasn't inspired by Star Wars. I wondered for a time if Grant McCune might have seen a picture of my robot, but essentially they were both being built at the same time (me for a seventh grade science class starting in 1976, him in California for the movies). There is a picture of a later version on my site, but that one was from after Star Wars had come out (and it only has one arm in the front). See:
    http://www.pdfernhout.net/ [pdfernhout.net]

    That one was influenced a bit by Star Wars, as I had put in a modified Radio Shack circuit that was a light-sensitive theramin-like device that let it make squealing noises in various pitches. I think the wheel mechanism there were the same ones I used on the original, as were other parts (stuff was so hard to come by, I cannibalized one project to make the next). They had a rubber band around the big wheels and a drive motor with a pully -- the stretch in the rubber band seemed essential to making it work -- O rings would not work. The wheels came from inline skates my father had made based on "road skates" in Holland. This was before inline skates became a big thing in the USA -- so maybe I cost my Dad a fortune? I remember him deciding I could have the wheels from his prototype with an odd sort of look (a tough choice I see now, as a parent myself, in hindsight that he had to make -- help his son's dream or push forward on his own dream?) The salad bowl on the top in that later version was a gift by that same sister to my parents, and I had kind of taken it over (I wish now we'd all eaten more veggies -- see Dr. Joel Fuhrman -- that sister since died for heart disease and other issues perhaps related to vitamin D deficiency and diet too). The frame for that one was a rolling bar bought by my father at my request for it (although we did use it for a short time as a rolling bar for a party my mother gave before it became de

BLISS is ignorance.