Oscar-Winning ‘Star Wars’ Veteran Grant McCune Dies at 67

The visual effects artist was also nominated for his work on “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”

Last Updated: December 29, 2010 @ 4:47 PM

Academy Award-winning special effects artist Grant McCune died on Monday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 67.

McCune won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for his work on George Lucas' 1977 classic "Star Wars." He was also nominated by the Academy in 1980 for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," and served as the chief model maker on the 1978 pilot of "Battlestar Galactica."

McCune got his start in special effects when director Steven Spielberg hired him and Bill Shourt to create a realistic model of the deadly white shark in "Jaws," although neither received credit for their contributions on the picture.

After becoming a partner at Apogee Prods., McCune worked on dozens of memorable movies, such as "Die Hard," "Big" and "Caddyshack."

McCune eventually launched his own company, Grant McCune Design, which made models and miniatures for "Speed," "Batman Forever," "Executive Decision," "Daylight" and "Sphere."

After a nearly decade-long absence from the big screen, McCune resurfaced in 2008 when he re-teamed with Stallone on "Rambo," for which he served as miniature effects supervisor.

McCune is survived by his wife, two children and a sister. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

For more about McCune's contributions to the "Star Wars" franchise, check out this Popular Mechanics interview from last year.