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Oscar-Winning Special Effects Wizard Eustace Lycett Dies

Eustace Lycett, a 43-year Disney veteran who won Academy Awards for his special photographic effects in MARY POPPINS and BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, passed away on Nov. 16, 2006. He died of natural causes at Park Vista at Morningside Nursing Home in Fullerton, California. He was 91.

For much of his career at Disney, he served as director of special visual effects, and created a wide range of photographic wizardry for such Disney favorites as SONG OF THE SOUTH, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, THE SHAGGY DOG, THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR, DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE, SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON, THE GNOME-MOBILE, THE LOVE BUG and THE BLACK HOLE. For his work, he received five Oscar nominations.

Lycett began his association with Disney in 1937, where his first project was to assist with the design and construction of the multiplane camera. A special Scientific and Technical category Academy Award was presented to the Disney staff members who helped to create it.

Following World War II, Lycett became an assistant to Ub Iwerks. Together they worked on films like THE THREE CABALLEROS, SONG OF THE SOUTH and SO DEAR TO MY HEART.

When Disneyland started, Walt Disney tapped Lycett to help develop Circle-Vision, a process of film projection on a 360-degree screen. He also worked on the engineering for the "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" attraction for the 1964-5 World's Fair and the subsequent Disneyland attraction. Among his other credits, he also lent his engineering skills to the popular "Rocket to the Moon" Disneyland attraction.

In 1958, Lycett became head of the special photographic effects department for the studio.

Born Dec. 21, 1914 in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England, Lycett traveled widely as a child with his father, an English mining engineer. His family moved permanently to the U.S. in 1933. After graduating in 1937 from the California Institute of Technology with a B.S. is mechanical engineering, he joined Disney's engineering department.

Lycett's wife of 67 years, Mary Ethel, passed away in 2004. He is survived by four sons: Kenneth, William, Roy and Victor. Other survivors include eight grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Lycett was cremated and he is interred at Forest Lawn Glendale.

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