ET The Extra-Terrestrial creator Carlo Rambaldi dies, aged 86

Italian special effects artist won an Oscar for his work on the beloved movie alien

Carlo Rambaldi, the Italian creator of ET The Extra-Terrestrial, has died at the age of 86.

The Oscar-winning special effects artist passed away in hospital on Friday (August 10) in the Italian city of Lamezia Terme, where he had been living. He had been suffering from a long illness.

Rambaldi created ET The Extra-Terrestrial using a mixture of steel, polyurethane, rubber, and hydraulic and electronic controls. His finished animatronic puppet was capable of over 150 different moves. In a statement, director Steven Spielberg saluted his work on the 1982 movie, saying: “Carlo Rambaldi was ET’s Geppetto. All of us who marvelled and wondered at his craft and artistry are deeply saddened by the news of his passing.”

Rambaldi began his career in Italian cinema in the 1950s, but made his name when producer Dino de Laurentiis brought him to Hollywood to work on 1976’s King Kong. He won a special achievement Oscar for his visual effects in the movie, prompting Spielberg to hire him for 1977’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and 1982’s ET The Extra-Terrestrial.

Rambaldi also created the mechanical head effects for the creature in 1979’s Alien and worked on numerous other Hollywood movies, including 1981’s Possession, 1984’s Dune and 1988’s Cameron’s Closet. He won two further Oscars for Alien and ET The Extra-Terrestrial. Scroll down to watch the trailer for the remastered 2002 edition of ET.