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Star Wars visual effects artist dies

Grant McCune won an Oscar

Grant McCune, whose model work on “Star Wars” brought him an Oscar, died of pancreatic cancer Monday in Hidden Hills, Calif. He was 67.

He was also nominated for an Oscar for visual effects for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” in 1979.

McCune started his special effects career when he was hired along with Bill Shourt to make a giant white shark model behave like a real shark on “Jaws,” though they weren’t credited for their work on the film.

During a special effects career that began in the early 1970s, he spent more than 30 years creating scenes with models and miniatures for major films. Among the films he worked on at Apogee Productions were “Die Hard,” “Space Balls,” “Never Say Never Again,” “Big” and “Caddyshack.”

As owner of Grant McCune Design, he worked on pics including “Speed,” “Batman Forever,” “U.S. Marshals,” “Red Planet,” “U-571,” “Spider-Man,” and “Serenity.”

The multi-talented McCune also designed his own home, played several instruments and was a skilled woodworker.

“He created a perfect work environment,” said Monty Shook, head of GMD’s model shop for 16 years. “If you had a question, whether it was in the field of science, math, medicine, or the arts, he would have an answer – – not some half-baked fabrication, but a clear, informed, articulate response.”

He is survived by his wife, Katherine, a son, a daughter and a sister.

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