45 Facts About Douglas Trumbull


Douglas Hunt Trumbull was an American film director and innovative visual effects supervisor.


Douglas Trumbull pioneered methods in special effects and created scenes for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner and The Tree of Life, and directed the movies Silent Running and Brainstorm.


Douglas Trumbull's father was an aerospace engineer who had briefly worked in Hollywood creating visual effects for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.


Douglas Trumbull initially wanted to be an architect, leading him to take classes in illustration.


Douglas Trumbull studied technical drawing at El Camino Junior College and joined the Screen Cartoonists Guild upon graduating.


Douglas Trumbull painted a rotating spiral galaxy, and using a fish eye lens, projected the film onto a custom-built dome.


Douglas Trumbull wanted to keep working on the film as he had already done considerable pre-production work, so he cold-called Kubrick after obtaining the director's home phone number from Pederson.


Kubrick hired Douglas Trumbull and flew him to London for the production of 2001.


Douglas Trumbull initially created the shots using a number of Rube Goldberg-like contraptions he built with gears and motors ordered from a scientific equipment supply house.


Douglas Trumbull created the Stargate by building a 6ft-tall sheet of rotatable metal and cut a narrow slit in it.


The film earned an Oscar for best special effects, but the award went solely to Kubrick, with Douglas Trumbull receiving none of the accolade for his work.


Douglas Trumbull said after Kubrick's death that Kubrick "was a genius", someone whom Douglas Trumbull missed terribly.


In 1969 Douglas Trumbull was filming the annual Flying Saucer Convention in Giant Rock California.


The film used a number of special effects techniques that Douglas Trumbull had helped develop.


Douglas Trumbull was not originally slated to direct, but as the start of production loomed he became the obvious choice.


Douglas Trumbull was seen as one of Hollywood's up and coming young directors.


Douglas Trumbull described this period of his career as "development hell".


Unable to live on development fees alone and needing money, Douglas Trumbull returned to creating special effects, including some uncredited work using blue screen techniques on the 1974 film The Towering Inferno, a huge commercial hit.


In 1975, Douglas Trumbull turned down an offer to provide the effects for George Lucas' Star Wars due to other commitments, but in 1977 he contributed effects to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


Paramount approached Douglas Trumbull to take over effects production, which Douglas Trumbull did after securing an agreement to be released from his contract at Paramount upon completion of the film.


The model of the Enterprise, already built by the time Douglas Trumbull's team took over, proved especially tricky.


Douglas Trumbull made several contributions to the story line, in collaboration with his Andromeda Strain director Robert Wise.


In 1981 Douglas Trumbull directed the special effects for the Ridley Scott film Blade Runner.


Douglas Trumbull did not complete Blade Runner, leaving the film as agreed about halfway through to concentrate on pre-production for his next directing effort, Brainstorm, a story of two brilliant scientists who develop a revolutionary device to record and vicariously experience other people's feelings and perceptions, a device the military tries to steal for its own purposes.


Douglas Trumbull had pushed all the while for the studio to finish and release his movie.


In 1994 Douglas Trumbull was briefly a Vice Chairman of IMAX Corporation and President of its Ridefilm division through his involvement in the simultaneous combination and takeover of the Canadian-based private company Imax Corp.


Douglas Trumbull spent nearly two decades in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts, starting and running a series of companies involved in effects production and innovation.


In 2010, Douglas Trumbull used social media to publicize a video on Vimeo and YouTube demonstrating an invention intended to cap the BP oil spill with a strong vacuum seal.


Malick, reportedly a Douglas Trumbull fan, approached him about the effects work and mentioned that he did not like the look of computer-generated effects.


Douglas Trumbull eventually signed on as special effects consultant, working with the film's effects supervisor, Dan Glass.


In 2012 Douglas Trumbull said he was working on a new science-fiction project that he claimed is "way beyond anything that Peter Jackson and James Cameron have been doing", which will probably be shot with a camera capable of recording 120 frames per second, twice the speed of its ancestor, Showscan.


Douglas Trumbull was a guest speaker at the Massachusetts Production Coalition in February 2013.


Since 2013 Douglas Trumbull maintained a workshop and studio on his property in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts where he continued to develop new tools for film-makers.


Douglas Trumbull often traveled to film screenings and seminars and was enjoying a resurgence of his celebrity among film and visual effects enthusiasts.


Douglas Trumbull seemed grateful for the recognition and reverence accorded by his followers.


In 2014 Douglas Trumbull announced that he had developed a new digital capture and projection system called Magi.


In 2018, Douglas Trumbull provided the visual effects for and executive produced the movie The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot.


Douglas Trumbull was twice honored by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.


Douglas Trumbull conducted pioneering biometric research on audience response to HFR imaging and developed a novel cinematic process using 65mm film at 60 frames per second that resulted in a "Giant Screen" 70mm image with extraordinarily high definition along with smoother and more realistic motion rendering.


Douglas Trumbull was honored for his more than 45 years of pioneering work in visual effects photography and groundbreaking innovation in motion picture technologies.


Douglas Trumbull was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2010, citing first his stature as "innovative master of special effects".


Douglas Trumbull has been nominated for Academy Awards on three occasions and has received the American Society of Cinematographer's Lifetime Achievement Award.


Douglas Trumbull was in poor health for the last two years of his life, due to complications from a stroke and cancer.


Douglas Trumbull died from mesothelioma at a hospital in Albany, New York, on February 7,2022, at the age of 79.


Douglas Trumbull's ashes are due to be sent into space with those of Majel Barrett and Nichelle Nichols.