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John O’Connor, a visual effects editor who worked alongside Polish filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczynski on the PBS program The Orchestra, died Sunday in Yorktown Heights, New York, after a short illness. He was 61.
O’Connor spent the past 20 years as chief technology officer for CMI Media Management and was on an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ blue-ribbon panel that judged special effects.
A native of Staten Island, O’Connor worked at Teletronics in New York before joining Rybczynski’s Zbig Vision, a pioneering high-definition production facility based in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1989. (Rybczynski won an Oscar for best animated short film for 1981’s Tango.)
The Orchestra, a suite of classical music videos, received an Emmy — the first for an HDTV project — for outstanding special visual effects in 1990.
Survivors include his wife, Miyuki, his parents and three brothers.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Bráulio Mantovani (City of God) named his son Joao as a tribute to their friendship. “John’s sharp mind, great sense of irony and his gentle and warm heart will keep him alive in my mind until the day I die,” he said.
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