Stanley Winston (April 7, 1946 – June 15, 2008) was an American visual effects supervisor, make-up artist, and film director. He was best known for his work in the Terminator series, the Jurassic Park series, Aliens, the Predator series, and Edward Scissorhands. He won a total of four Academy Awards for his work.
Winston, a frequent collaborator with director James Cameron, owned more than one effects studio, including Stan Winston Digital. The established areas of expertise for Winston were in makeup, puppets and practical effects, but he had recently expanded his studio to encompass digital effects as well.
Winston reached a new level of fame in 1984 when James Cameron's The Terminator premiered. The movie was a surprise hit, and Winston's work in bringing the titular metallic killing machine to life led to many new projects and additional collaborations with Cameron. In fact, Winston won his first Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1986 on James Cameron's next movie, Aliens.
Over the next few years, Winston and his company received more accolades for its work on many more Hollywood films, including Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, John McTiernan's Predator, Alien Nation, The Monster Squad, and Predator 2.
In 1989, Winston made his directorial debut with the horror movie Pumpkinhead, and won Best First Time Director at the Paris Film Festival. Although poorly received at the box office, Pumpkinhead has since become somewhat of a cult classic. His next directing project was the child-friendly A Gnome Named Gnorm (1990), starring Anthony Michael Hall.
In 1992, he was nominated with yet another Tim Burton film, this time for Burton's superhero sequel, Batman Returns, where his effects on Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and in delivering Burton's general vision for what was an increasingly Gothic Gotham City earned him more recognition for his work ethic and loyalty to what was an intrinsic ability to bring different directors' ideas to life. It was particularly poignant because for Batman Returns, Winston had to follow on from Anton Furst's earlier work, and recreate change according to what Burton wanted to do differently the next time around.
Winston turned his attention from super villains and cyborgs to dinosaurs when Steven Spielberg enlisted his help to bring Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park to the cinema screen. In 1993, the movie became a blockbuster and Winston won another Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
In 1993, Winston, Cameron and ex-ILM General Manager Scott Ross co-founded Digital Domain, one of the foremost digital and visual effects studios in the world. In 1998, after the box office success of Titanic, Cameron and Winston severed their working relationship with the company and resigned from its board of directors.
Winston and his team continued to provide effects work for many more films and expanded their work into animatronics. Some of Winston's notable animatronics work can be found in The Ghost and the Darkness and T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, James Cameron's 3-D continuation of the Terminator series for the Universal Studios theme park. One of Winston's most ambitious animatronics projects was Steven Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence, which earned Winston another Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects.
In 1996, Winston directed and co-produced the longest and the most expensive music video of all time, Ghosts, which was based on an original concept of Michael Jackson and Stephen King. The long-form music video presented a number of never before seen visual effects, and promoted music from two consecutive Jackson albums, HIStory and Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which went on to become the biggest selling boxed set/double and remix album of all time (18+18 million and 7 million, accordingly).
In 2003, Stan Winston was invited by the Smithsonian Institution to speak about his life and career in a public presentation sponsored by The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. The presentation took place on November 15, 2003, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
In 2004, he expressed great disappointment when Director, Paul Anderson, did not come to him for the creature effects for Alien Vs. Predator, seeing as how he designed the Predator, and the Alien Queen. "They're like my children to me." he stated.
At the time of his death, Winston was working on the sequel Terminator Salvation. According to reports, next for Stan Winston was Jurassic Park IV. Winston was also signed on to help with the monster effects for The Suffering, an upcoming action-horror film to be based on the Midway video games. Winston designed the original monsters that appeared in the game The Suffering and its sequel, The Suffering: Ties That Bind.