Special effects designer Grant McCune (b.1943) died on December 27 of pancreatic cancer. McCune got his start with the design of the great white shark in the film Jaws and went on to design R2-D2 for Star Wars, a film for which he won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. He was nominated for a second Academy Award for his work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. After setting up his own company, he worked on films such as Spider-Man, Batman Forever, Spaceballs, and Ghostbusters II.
Director Irvin Kershner (b.1923) died on November 29. Kershner’s strongest genre credits were directing The Empire Strikes Back (later, Star Wars; Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) and The Eyes of Laura Mars. He went on to direct Robocop 2 and episodes of Amazing Stories and SeaQuest DSV. Kershner won a Saturn Award for The Empire Strikes Back and in 2010 received a Lifetime Achievement Saturn Award.
The 501st Legion and the R2D2 Builders Group will be making an appearance at Discovery World in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 23 from 10-5. Light saber duels and costume showcases will be included in the regular cost of admission to the science museum/aquarium with $2 of every admission ticket being donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Actor David Prowse, best known as the man inside Darth Vader’s suit in the original Star Wars trilogy, has announced that he is being treated for prostate cancer. Prowse has been undergoing radiation treatment for the past two months. The actor, who also appeared in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” television series as Hotblack Desiato’s bodyguard, says that all men over the age of 50 should be sure to have a PSA test.