Grant McCune, one of the five special effects artists that won an Oscar for the special effects in A New Hope has died of pancreatic cancer at age 67. He was the chief model maker for the miniature and optical effects unit for the first Star Wars movie and was responsible for some of the R2-D2 models used.

Outside of the Star Wars universe he has also worked on many other cult classics such as Jaws, Die Hard, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Spaceballs. Later his model production company was also responsible for the models used in Serenity, the movie spin-off from Firefly.

For motion picture miniatures and production miniatures, I’ve always told people to get a good background in photography first. The most important thing is what you see with your eye. Movies are a lot different from reality. This is because you’ve isolated the viewer’s eye to a certain spot—you can’t look anywhere else. If you’re a photographer, you get the idea of what you need to do by analyzing what it is that needs to be set and where it is and how much detail it should have. All the best people who ever worked for me were first good with the eye.

With his credits even including some of the astounding models in Alien it is obvious that this will be a loss to movie industry.