Robbie Knott, Special Effects Guru on 'The Muppet Movie,' Dies at 73
His career in Hollywood came to an end after a scuba-diving accident in 2006.
Robbie Knott, who worked on special effects for such films as The Muppet Movie, Field of Dreams and The Nutty Professor remake before a scuba-diving accident ended his career, has died. He was 73.
Knott died June 29 in Portland, Oregon, his son, Brian, told The Hollywood Reporter. His death was due to complications from the accident that occurred in 2006 during a visit to Micronesia, when Knott got the bends and became paralyzed from the waist down, he said.
Knott helped build the giant Animal puppet with a 15-foot head that came crashing through a roof after accidentally ingesting one of Dr. Bunsen's "insta-grow" pills in The Muppet Movie (1979).
"There were things like having to pull six-foot custard pies out of your hip pocket within a week — plus a mechanical billboard to throw the pies," Knott told American Cinematographer in a 1979 interview. "We were asked to provide very top-budget film-type gags, with no time to do them. But it was fun."
Knott's film résumé also included Repo Man (1984), best picture Oscar winner Dances With Wolves (1990), Cabin Boy (1994), Dante's Peak (1997), Donnie Darko (2001), Stuart Little 2 (2002) and his final credit, For Your Consideration (2006).
He also worked on such television programs as NBC's Remington Steele.
Born in Hollywood, Knott attended Hollywood High School and was raised near the Paramount lot, where his mother served as an assistant to legendary costume designer Edith Head.
In addition to his son, survivors include his daughters Misty, Victoria and Scarlet; grandchildren Alex, Andrea and Alexis; and nephew Jeffrey Knott, a special effects technician on films including this year's Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp.