Danny Gordon Taylor, Oscar-Nominated VFX Artist, Dies at 69

Sandy Coombs Taylor
Danny Gordon Taylor

He worked for ILM, Digital Domain and WETA Digital and on 'Star Wars,' two 'Transformers' films and 'Real Steel.'

Danny Gordon Taylor, an animation specialist who earned an Oscar nomination for his efforts on the Hugh Jackman-starring Real Steel, has died. He was 69.

Taylor died July 10 in his sleep in Lapeer, Michigan, his friend John Ellis told The Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death was a heart attack.

Taylor worked for Industrial Light & Magic — he did computer graphics for a special edition of the original Star Wars in 1997 while there — and for Digital Domain and WETA Digital during his career.

His credits as an animator and animation supervisor also included The Mask (1994), Jumanji (1995), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Transformers (2007), Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009), The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), The Jungle Book (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) and Alita: Battle Angel (2019).

Taylor shared his Oscar nom for Real Steel (2011) with Erik Nash, John Rosengrant and Swen Gillberg.

Raised in Tonawanda, New York, near Buffalo, Taylor worked for WDCA-TV 20 in Washington before launching Taylor Made Images in Hyattsville, Maryland. At his company from 1983-91, he did traditional animation and VFX work for clients including DuPont, PBS, Sam Raimi, the IRS and the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as a feature film, Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor (1990).

"Dan was brilliant," Ellis said, "and he told me recently that he missed those days of rubber bands and bailing wire effects."

Survivors include his wife, Sandy; daughters Molly and Melissa; son MJ; and sister Loretta.