Oscar-winning special-effects wizard A.D. Flowers, who brought realism to such epics as “Tora! Tora! Tora!” “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now,” died July 5 from complications of emphysema and pneumonia in Fullerton, Calif. He was 84.
Also Oscar-nommed for his work in Steven Spielberg’s “1941,” Flowers won Academy Awards for his effects in the 1970 Pearl Harbor epic “Tora! Tora! Tora!” and the 1972 film “The Poseidon Adventure.”
A master of construction and subsequent destruction, he blew up bridges and villages in “Apocalypse Now.” He rigged a two-story house to fall over a cliff in one take for Spielberg’s “1941.” For “Tora! Tora! Tora!” he and his crew set up more than 100 smoke pots around the filmed harbor and set off each manually to recreate the Japanese attack.
A technical innovator, Flowers created his own formula for movie blood for “The Godfather” and then enhanced how it was used by creating a jacket that pumped out blood from a wound in diminishing spurts, as it would in real life. Along with fellow effects specialist Logan R. Frazee, he received a technical achievement Oscar in 1979 for the “guillotine,” a device that made miniature planes bank and roll realistically for “1941.”
The Texas-born/Oklahoma-reared Flowers also worked on such television series as “Combat!” and “Gunsmoke.” He was later the chief of mechanical special effects for 20th Century Fox for many years.
Flowers is survived by his wife, Vivian, a daughter and three grandchildren.