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Italian Oscar-winning special effects master Carlo Rambaldi dies aged 86

MILAN--Carlo Rambaldi, a special effects master and three-time Oscar winner known as the father of “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” died Friday in southern Italy after a long illness, Italian news media reported. He was 86.

Rambaldi won visual effects Oscars for Steven Spielberg's 1982 blockbuster, Ridley Scott's film “Alien” in 1979, and John Guillermin's “King Kong” in 1976.

“Carlo Rambaldi was E.T.'s Geppetto,” said Spielberg, referring to the fictional character who created Pinocchio. “All of us who marveled and wondered at his craft and artistry are deeply saddened by the news of his passing.”

Rambaldi worked on more than 30 films, but was best known for his work on E.T., for which he created three robots, two costumes worn by actors in the scenes when E.T. walked, and gloves for the hands.

Rambaldi, a wizard of a discipline known as mechatronics — which combines disciplines including mechanical, electronic and system design engineering — did not hide a disdain for computerized effects.

“Digital costs around eight times as much as mechatronics,” Rambaldi was quoted by the Rome daily La Repubblica as having once said. “E.T. cost a million dollars and we created it in three months. If we wanted to do the same thing with computers, it would take at least 200 people a minimum of five months.”

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This April 10, 2002 file photo shows special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi walking onstage after drawing a cartoon of E.T. during the Italian David Di Donatello cinema awards in Rome's Cinecitta' studios.

(AP)

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