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F/X Pioneer Donald Trumbull Dies

Donald Edmund Trumbull, a two-time winner of the Academy's Sci-Tech Award has died, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. He was 95. He died June 7, 2004 of natural causes at his daughter's home in Graeagle, California.

Trumbull started his career in the motion picture industry as a special effects rigger on THE WIZARD OF OZ. After three decades in the aviation industry, he returned to the movies in 1970, teaming with his son, director Douglas Hunt Trumbull, on developing specialized equipment and robotic arms for the drones in Hunt Trumbull's first film, SILENT RUNNING. In 1976, the joined the crew of Industrial Light + Magic, building the first motion-control cameras, booms and specialized equipment for STAR WARS. Afterward, Trumbull partnered with John Dykstra and others formed Apogee Prods.

In 1985, Trumbull earned a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his contribution to the Blue Max traveling matte flux projector for composite photography. Then in 1999, he received an Academy Scientific and Engineering Award for his contributions to development of the Zebra and Gazelle dolly systems. Two years later, at age 92, he was honored with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Fuji Film Gold Medal Award for outstanding achievement in image origination.

He is survived by his son; daughters Betsy Trumbull Hardie, Katie Trumbull Blank, Kyle Trumbull Clark and Mary Trumbull Erland; his sister-in-law Mary Roy; 18 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his memory be made to Tahoe Forest Hospice, P.O. Box 759, Truckee, CA 96160-0759.

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