- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
David M. Jones, a visual effects artist who contributed to such landmark sci-fi films as Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Alien 3 and Starship Troopers, has died. He was 74.
Jones died April 8 of cancer at his Winnetka home in Los Angeles, his lifelong friend and ex-wife, Janice Gerson, announced.
Jones was employed at ILM, Universal Hartland and Boss Film Studios for most of his career.
As a model shop supervisor or visual effects supervisor at Boss, he worked on Batman Returns (1992), The Scout (1994), Outbreak (1995), Air Force One (1997) and Starship Troopers (1997), among other movies.
At the start of his career, Jones built miniature models and worked in the optical effects unit for Star Wars and served as a consultant on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Both films were nominated for the visual effects Oscar in 1978, with Star Wars prevailing.)
He earned an Emmy nomination in 1996 for his work on the Fox series Space: Above and Beyond and did effects for HBO’s Tales From the Crypt from 1989-95.
His résumé also included Space Academy (1977), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Cliffhanger (1993) and Desperate Measures (1998).
Born in Sacramento, California, Jones spent time during his childhood years on U.S. Air Force bases as far away as Anchorage, Alaska, and Freeburg, Illinois. When he was in the first grade, he purchased his first model airplane kit.
He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in industrial design from Cal State Long Beach, then entered the film industry as a model maker.
Jones also directed the 1983 short film Choose Your Tomorrow for Horizons at Disney World’s Epcot Center and handled effects for “Bud Bowl” Super Bowl commercials for Budweiser in 1989-90 and the innovative “Orcas” spot for United Airlines in 1992.
Nicknamed “Details Dave,” Jones enjoyed piloting radio-controlled model aircraft, fly-fishing and restoring his 1965 Lotus Elan.
Survivors also include his son, Hunter, a mechanical engineer who builds rocket ships at SpaceX in Hawthorne, California.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Zachary Levi Says He Doesn’t Blame Dwayne Johnson for the Nixed Post-Credits Scene in ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’
Jeff Goldblum Confirms Role in ‘Wicked’ Movie Musical, Talks “Very Good” Witches Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande
How a ‘Pooh’ Slasher Flick May Have Tipped Hong Kong Towards Greater Beijing Censorship
Owen Wilson Says Wig Did “Heavy Lifting” to Help Him Play Bob Ross-Inspired Character in ‘Paint’
Inside the Firing of Victoria Alonso: Her Oscar-Nominated Movie ‘Argentina, 1985’ at Center of Exit (Exclusive)