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Kit West

  • Birthplace: Wandsworth, London, England
Date of passing: 
April 16, 2016

Kit West was a British-born mechanical and special effects artist best known for his Oscar-winning work on Raiders of the Lost Ark. He oversaw the old school mechanical effects on Raiders, which also marked the first film he collaborated on with director Steven Spielberg. West shared his Oscar win with Richard Edlund, Bruce Nicholson and Joe Johnston.

West also contributed to Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, for which he oversaw all of the robots, including R2-D2. His work earned him a BAFTA Award, which he shared with Edlund, Dennis Muren, and Ken Ralston.

Additionally, West contributed to the films Battle of the Bulge, Lost Command, Love and Death, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Stargate, Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, Enemy at the Gates, The Bourne Supremacy, Dune, Young Sherlock Holmes, and Dragonheart. The latter two earned West his second and third Oscar nominations, respectively.

During his career, West contributed to one television movie, 1974’s Dracula, starring Jack Palance, Simon Ward, and Nigel Davenport. The horror film followed the iconic character on his search for a woman who looks like his long dead wife.

Kit West was a British-born mechanical and special effects artist best known for his Oscar-winning work on Raiders of the Lost Ark. He oversaw the old school mechanical effects on Raiders, which also marked the first film he collaborated on with director Steven Spielberg. West shared his Oscar win with Richard Edlund, Bruce Nicholson and Joe Johnston.

West also contributed to Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, for which he oversaw all of the robots, including R2-D2. His work earned him a BAFTA Award, which he shared with Edlund, Dennis Muren, and Ken Ralston.

Additionally, West contributed to the films Battle of the Bulge, Lost Command, Love and Death, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Stargate, Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, Enemy at the Gates, The Bourne Supremacy, Dune, Young Sherlock Holmes, and Dragonheart. The latter two earned West his second and third Oscar nominations, respectively.

During his career, West contributed to one television movie, 1974’s Dracula, starring Jack Palance, Simon Ward, and Nigel Davenport. The horror film followed the iconic character on his search for a woman who looks like his long dead wife.

West began his career as a trainee camera assistant with the documentary company Realist Film Unit, for which he produced government and military training films. He later served for two years in the British Army, then transitioned into work as the in-house cameraman for a company owned by special effects artist Les Bowie (2001: A Space Odyssey), and finally began working on features in the early 1960s.

West died April 16, 2016, in London, England. He was 80.

 

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