Carlo Rambaldi, designer of ‘E.T.,’ dies at 86

Time slips on past us and, as the visionary directors, writers, designers and illustrators of classic films grow older, fans are inevitably going to be faced with their passing.

Like “Star Wars” illustrator Ralph McQuarrie, who died in March, Carlo Rambaldi’s work is, at least, immortalized on film. Rambaldi worked with Steven Spielberg to create the title character for the 1982 classic “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.”

The Washington Post notes that Rambaldi created three E.T. robots (probably a reference to remotely controlled E.T. faces, heads and necks) two costumes worn by actors and gloves that doubled for E.T.’s hands.

Nowadays, of course, E.T. would be a computer-generated creature, as in “Avatar.”

In the Post story, by the Associated Press, Rambaldi is quoted expressing his skepticism about CGI. There’s little doubt that mechanical effects that created creatures as diverse as E.T. and the shark from “Jaws” gave actors a real, physical presence to act opposite on the set.

Rambaldi won visual effects Oscars for “E.T.,” “Alien” and the 1976 “King Kong” remake.



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