You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Peter Donen

Visual effects supervisor

Visual effects supervisor Peter Donen, son of helmer Stanley Donen, died Dec. 31 of a heart attack in Los Angeles. He was 50.

He was educated in the U.S. and Europe. He studied naval architecture and worked as a professional sailor before returning to the United States from Mexico, where he began his film career in the finishing department of Kaleidoscope Films.

When Kaleidoscope acquired Cinema Research, he became production manager, overseeing titles including “More American Graffiti,” “Superman,” “Clan of the Cave Bear,” “Jagged Edge” and “Altered States.”

He left Cinema Research to become a freelance visual effects supervisor, working on numerous commercials; musicvideos for artists including Michael Jackson; and title designs for films including “Gremlins,” “Twilight Zone” and “Blame it on Rio.”

He also designed and executed the horse-injury sequences in “The Horse Whisperer.”

His experience in scuba diving and as a naval architect served well for “U-571,” where he worked on filming the miniatures underwater. He also worked on visual effects for “Flatliners,” “Die Hard 2,” “Radio Flyer” and many more.

On “The Bourne Identity,” he supervised over 150 subtly integrated effects shots. (Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper said one of the things they loved about the film was “the lack of visual effects.”) His last film was “Ladder 49,” a Touchstone film skedded for release in October.

Besides his father, he is survived by his mother, actress Marion Marshall Wagner; brother, Josh, former producer and now an agent at CAA; stepfather, actor Robert Wagner; and half-sister, actress Katie.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • DOLEMITE IS MY NAME!, 2019, DOL_Unit_06284.RAF

    'Dolemite Is My Name' Writer Larry Karaszewski Recalls 10-Year Journey to Make Rudy Ray Moore Biopic

    “Harriet” writer-director Kasi Lemmons was in a reflective mood at Tuesday night’s “Behind the Screen” event at the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America West. The biopic, starring Cynthia Erivo as slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been receiving buzz since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s Lemmons’ [...]

  • Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis

    Holocaust Experts Debate 'Jojo Rabbit' at Museum of Tolerance Screening

    With its comedic, cartoonish portrayal of Nazis, Taika Waititi’s satirical Hitler youth tale “Jojo Rabbit” has polarized critics and audiences alike. And that division continued to be stirred at Tuesday night’s screening of the film at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, where Liebe Geft, director of the museum, moderated a heated panel discussion [...]

  • Laura Dern MoMA

    Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver Honor Laura Dern at MoMA Film Benefit

    Laura Dern is certainly no stranger to film sets. “Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd birthed me and bred me on cinema,” she said on Tuesday night in New York City, as she accepted honors at the Museum of Modern Art’s annual Film Benefit, presented by Chanel. “I was conceived on a Roger Corman movie called [...]

  • Jon Huerta

    'This Is Us' Star Jon Huertas Builds Community With Venice's Clutch Restaurant

    “This Is Us” star Jon Huertas, who’s being honored at the Napa Valley Film Festival with Variety Vivant’s Spice Award Nov. 13, has always known he wanted a career in Hollywood. But he’s something of an accidental restaurateur. No, he didn’t exactly stumble into co-owning Clutch, one of the hottest upscale casual restaurants in Venice, [...]

  • John Legend LVE Wine

    Celebrities Take Hands-On Approach to Making Fine Wines

    Care to sip champagne backed by Jay Z or 50 Cent? Or mellow out with a fine Chianti from Sting and Trudie Styler? Behind every wine label is an incredibly expensive team effort of surprising proportions. Wine lovers may consider making their own as the ultimate dream; however, few can afford the buy-in. Vineyards are [...]

  • St. Clair Brown, Mad Fritz lead

    Craft Beer Thrives in the Heart of Napa Wine Country

    Napa Valley has long been devoted to the products of the grape, but the region actually played a pivotal role in getting the craft beer revolution off the ground. New Albion Brewing launched the microbrewery trend in adjacent Sonoma County in 1976, inspiring a wave of delicious and potent alternatives to pale industrial beer. There’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content