Thomas “Glen” Robinson, award-winning special effects pioneer whose career dated back to MGM in the 1930s, died March 27 of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 87.
He received a Technical Achievement Academy Award in 1951 for developing a new cable cutter and in 1959 for development of a multiple-cable remote winch system. He also received special Oscars for “The Hindenburg” in 1975 and 1976’s “Logan’s Run.”
Idaho native’s family moved to Los Angeles when he was 12. He graduated from Venice High School in 1932 and four years later went to work on the MGM lot, where he became the studio’s top special effects coordinator.
During the early 1970s, he left MGM and worked on Universal’s “Earthquake” and “The Hindenburg.” He moved over to Paramount Pictures in 1975 and worked on “King Kong” before returning to the MGM production of “Logan’s Run.”
Additional feature credits include “Meteor” (1979), “Flash Gordon” (1980), “Pennies From Heaven” (1981), and “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” and “Amityville II: The Possession” (both 1982). He retired in 1983.
In addition to his special effects film work, he was an engineer of roller coaster and double Ferris wheel attractions at amusement parks including Magic Mountain (Golden, Colorado; Valencia, Calif.), Wakefield Park (Massachusetts) and Space City (Huntsville, Ala.).
He is survived by two sons, three daughters, 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.