Goodbye Marc Thorpe, Star Wars special effects wizard

Goodbye Marc Thorpe, Star Wars special effects wizard

Marc Thorpecreator of special effects for the “Star Wars” films and the “Indiana Jones” saga, died on Friday 24 November in a nursing home in Alamo, California, at the age of 77.

The announcement of his passing was made by his daughter Megan Feffer on Facebook, explaining that her father had suffered from Parkison’s disease for a long time and complications had recently arisen. He was first diagnosed with the progressive disorder affecting the nervous system in 1993.

Marc Thorpe and the magic of special effects

Thorpe (not to be confused with the much younger and more famous American designer and architect of the same name) had joined Industrial Light and Magic/Lucasfilm in 1979 as a model maker and animatronic designer and was part of the optical effects unit of the second film of the “Star Wars” film saga, “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980). He also contributed to the other “Star Wars” film, “Return of the Jedi” (1983).

He was also the creator of the special effects for the Indiana Jones films “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “The Temple of Doom” (1984) and “The Last Crusade” (1989). Other films on which he collaborated include “Dragon on Firelake” (1981), “Poltergeist – Demonic Presences” (1982), “Explorers” (1985), “Howard and the Fate of the World” (1986) and “The Hunt for Red October” (1990).

The idea of ​​Robot Wars

Marc Thorpe was responsible for the idea for “Robot Wars” in 1993, born while he was inventing non-movie toys as a senior designer at LucasToys and tinkering with a radio-controlled vacuum cleaner. Thus arose fights between amateur radio-controlled robots during events he defined as “festivals of destruction and survival”. Lucasfilm did not oppose the registration of the “Robot Wars” trademark.

“I like to think it was because they wanted me to be successful with my new business,” Thorpe confessed in an interview. And he called his first event, held in 1994 at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture in San Francisco, a “tremendous success.”


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