Legendary Visual Artist Syd Mead Passes Away at 86

Variety is reporting that legendary visual artist Syd Mead has passed away Monday at the age of 86. According to reports he suffered from complications from lymphoma.

Alexandra Wyman/Invision/AP/Shut Via Variety

Alexandra Wyman/Invision/AP/Shut Via Variety

  • Hollywood icon and visual arts pioneer, Syd Mead passed away yesterday in Pasadena, California. He was 86 years old.
  • Mead has been celebrated for his long career in Hollywood and his ability to visualize the future working to help create the look and feel of many groundbreaking sci-fi films.  
  • His many credits include:
    • Blade Runner
    • Tron
    • Aliens
    • Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • Mead’s career began not as an artist in the City of Angels, but working as a designer in the auto, electronic, and steel industries. He worked for Ford, Sony, U.S. Steel, and Phillips before venturing into the film business.
  • His first major motion picture project was working as a production illustrator on the Robert Wise’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Mead designed V’Ger the sentient being that wanted to destroy Earth.  
  • He also was responsible for the look of the Leonov ship from 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel 2010, as well as  serving as the consultant and robots designer on Short Circuit.
  • Throughout the 2010’s he worked on designs for Mission: Impossible III, Elysium, Tomorrowland, and served as a consultant for Blade Runner 2049.
  • In 2015 Mead was recognized by the Visual Effects Society with a Visionary Award.
  • He was to be honored by the Art Director’s Guild in 2020 with the William Cameron Menzies Award for his work on Aliens, Blade Runner and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

What they’re saying:

  • Art Directors Guild president Nelson Coates: “I am so saddened to hear of the passing of visionary illustrator and concept artist Syd Mead. His pivotal role in shaping cinema was unique, with a singular ability to visualize the future. As one of the most influential conceptual artists of our time, his visions and illustrations of future technological worlds will remain as a testament to his vast imagination.”