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Gene Warren Jr., an Oscar-winning special and visual effects artist and supervisor known for his work on Critters, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and the It miniseries of the early 1990s, has passed away at the age of 78. SYFY WIRE has confirmed that he died on Thanksgiving night at his Hollywood Knolls home in California surrounded by his brother and two sons.
"Gene gave me my big break in Hollywood when he asked me to set up a creature effects department at Fantasy II," wrote Bart J. Mixon, founder of the creature effects department at Warren's SFX company, on Facebook. "If there's a game of darts in the afterlife, Gene will be there!"
"Gene Warren Jr. was an incredible mentor and friend," added Edward Chiodo, one of the siblings behind 1988's Killer Klowns From Outer Space. "Gene was always there with advice and support. Delivering above and beyond the request with amazing Hollywood stories along the way. A true professional who championed all the right things when it came to workers' rights and social causes. They don’t make them like him anymore."
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Warren was born into the world of movie magic.
He was the son Gene Warren Sr., an accomplished special effects designer in his own right, who served as a production designer and second unit director, and worked on such classics as the Land of the Lost TV series and George Pal's 1960 adaptation of The Time Machine, which nabbed him an Oscar as well. He passed away from cancer in 1997.
Gene Jr. ended up founding his own SFX company, Fantasy II Film Effects, and taught film at USC prior to his death. According to his website, he lived in the Hollywood Hills with his cat, Gris, and wrote novels and screenplays.
Thanks to the groundbreaking developments on T2 the year before, Warren Jr. took home an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects at the 64th Oscars ceremony in 1992 alongside Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, and Robert Skotak. He had previously worked on the first Terminator film in 1984 as an SFX supervisor.
Warren's other genre credits include: Tremors, Captain America (the infamous 1990 version), True Lies, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Scream 3, Underworld, and the original adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Nightflyers in 1987.