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(Article by nerdbastards contributor Mark Poynter, A.K.A Mordrun)

Nobody likes to write these RIP pieces.  Most people don’t even like reading them.  For a writer it’s hard to sum up someone’s life in a few lines, for readers it’s hard to not feel a small part of yourself break inside.  The people pictured above have touched my life without ever being within 100 miles of me.

“Forbidden Planet” was one of the first SciFi movies I watched as a child, although I must say that Robby the Robot made a bigger impression at the time.  It wasn’t until I hit my teens and rewatched the movie when Anne Francis suddenly seemed very interesting.

Grant McCune was the man who made all those fabulous spaceships I wanted to fly.  Even if you could forget those fantastic X-Wings, Star Destroyers, or the Death Star for a moment , think about the opening of the old version of Battlestar Galactica and those fantastic ships.  Makes me tear up even today.

Pete Postlethwaite played one of my favorite villains that I loved to hate.  Suddenly, I seemed to see Pete everywhere.  Every time he showed up it made me smile.  As I sat and watched “The Town” last year, stunned by Ben Affleck’s performance, Pete came on screen and again took it to a new level and stole the scene.

For more please click through to the next page for details on each career and more photos.

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Pete Postlethwaite died Sunday January 3rd after a long battle with cancer.  What I’ll remember him most for is Obadiah Hakeswill from the BBC Sharpe series.  Pete played a lying, murderous, raping bastard that I loved to hate.  He came on the screen and stole the show every time.  That was nothing new for Pete though.  He did it every time.

Steshette on Youtube put together this tribute video to Pete as Hakeswill:

Anne Francis and Robbie the Robot

Actress Anne Francis, of the 1950s science-fiction classic “Forbidden Planet” and later sexy private eye in “Honey West,” died Sunday January 2nd at a Santa Barbara nursing home.  Francis, died of complications of pancreatic cancer.  Francis, a beautiful blonde with a prominent beauty mark, starred opposite actors such as Spencer Tracy, Paul Newman, Robert Taylor and Glenn Ford in some of the most popular films of the 1950s. She is most remembered for “Forbidden Planet.”  A science-fiction retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” the 1956 film had Leslie Nielsen and other space travelers visiting a planet where scientist Walter Pidgeon, his daughter (Francis) and their helper, Robby the Robot, built a settlement.  Before filming began, the actors held a meeting and agreed “to be as serious about this film as we could be,” Francis said in a 1999 interview.

“We could have hammed it up, but we wanted to be as sincere as we could,” she said.

In “Honey West,” which aired from 1965 to 1966, Francis’ private detective character – who kept a pet ocelot was a female James Bond: sexy, stylish and as good with martial arts as she was with a gun.  Besides “Forbidden Planet” most nerds remember her from the TV episodes listed below:

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1960-1963 Twilight Zone (TV series)
Jess-Belle (1963) … Jess-Belle Stone
The After Hours (1960) … Marsha White

1964 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (TV series)

The Giuoco Piano Affair (1964) … Gervaise Ravel
The Quadripartite Affair (1964) … Gervaise Ravel

1974 Kung Fu (TV series)

Night of the Owls, Day of the Doves (1974) … Ida Quinlan
1977 Black Sheep Squadron (TV series)

Deadliest Enemy of All: Part 2 (1977) … Lt. Cmdr. Gladys Hope
The Deadliest Enemy of All: Part 1 (1977) … Lt. Cmdr. Gladys Hope
1976 The New Adventures of Wonder Woman (TV series)
Beauty on Parade (1976) … Lola Flynn

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Grant McCune (27 March 194327 December 2010; age 67) was a special and visual effects artist who worked as miniature supervisor for Apogee, Inc. on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For this work he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects in 1980, shared with Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Richard Yuricich, Robert Swarthe, and David K. Stewart.

McCune previously won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1978 for his work on George Lucas‘ science fiction film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope which he also shared with John Dykstra. In addition to his work as chief model maker for this film, he also appeared as a Death Star Gunner.

McCune graduated from California State University in Northridge with a bachelor’s in biology. His career in special effects began when he and Bill Shourt were hired to create a giant, realistic shark model for Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed 1975 horror-suspense film Jaws.

McCune and Shourt were subsequently hired onto the miniature and optical effects unit of the first Star Wars film, where they worked under the supervision of ILM‘s John Dykstra. In 1978, Dykstra left ILM to form Apogee, Inc., and many others who worked on Star Wars joined him, including McCune and Shourt, who became partners at the fledgling studio.

Specializing in models and minatures, McCune worked on many film productions at Apogee, including several of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. One of his earliest jobs with the company was as chief model maker on the pilot for the cult sci-fi television series Battlestar Galactica. The pilot was produced by John Dykstra, directed by Richard Colla, and featured Ed Begley, Jr. and John Colicos.

Later, McCune was chief model maker on Clint Eastwood’s sci-fi thriller Firefox, which featured Ward Costello and Richard Derr. He was also miniature supervisor on the 1985 sci-fi film Lifeforce, in which Star Trek: The Next Generation star Patrick Stewart had a major supporting role.

McCune’s other credits at Apogee included the action thriller Avalanache Express (working with David Beasley, John Dykstra, Jon Erland, Bruce Logan, David Scott, Robert Shepherd, and David Sosalla), the popular golf comedy Chaddyshack, and genre comedies Spaceballs (featuring Tim Russ, Brenda Strong, and Dey Young), My Stepmother Is an Alien (featuring Earl Boen, Tony Jay, and Suzie Plakson), and Ghostbusters II (featuring Aaron Lustig and Harris Yulin). He also did uncredited work on such films as Die Hard and Big.

In the 1990s, McCune departed Apogee to form his own special effects studio, Grant McCune Design, located in Van Nuys, California. Under his company’s banner, McCune supervised miniature effects on such films as Speed (1994), Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994, starring John Larroquette), Batman Forever (1995, featuring Rene Auberjonois), and the Stuart Baird-directed thrillers Executive Decision (1996) and U.S. Marshals (1998.

McCune was also special effects supervisor on the historical drama Thirteen Days, which featured a cast that included Jack Blessing, Len Cariou, Kevin Conway, Steven Culp, Charles Esten, Bruce Greenwood, Tim Kelleher, Boris Lee Krutonog, Ed Lauter, Dakin Matthews, and Bill Smitrovich. More recently, McCune worked on such films as 2002’s Spider-Man and 2005’s Serenity, the feature follow-up to the cult sci-fi series Firefly. His last known film was 2008’s Rambo, for which he was miniature supervisor

McCune gave an interesting interview with Popular Mechanics about model building for film.

Category: Film

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