Remembering TNG & DS9 VFX Artist Gary Hutzel
StarTrek.com is saddened to report the passing of Emmy Award-winning visual effects artist Gary Hutzel, who passed away suddenly on March 1 at the age of 60. Hutzel served as visual effects coordinator and supervisor on the first five seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the entire run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He introduced many technical innovations to Star Trek's visual effects,
helped create the USS Defiant, and supervised visual effects in the fan-favorite "Trials and Tribble-ations," blending the cast of Deep Space Nine into scenes from Star Trek: The Original Series. Hutzel was also widely recognized by Star Trek fans for his award-winning visual effects on numerous other series, including Battlestar Galactica, Caprica and Defiance. Additionally, he rendered covers for several non-fiction Trek books and, with Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block, co-wrote The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Star Trek Deep Space Nine -- "Trials and Tribbles-ations."
Longtime friends and colleagues Doug Drexler, Mike & Denise Okuda, and John Eaves honored Hutzel with the following statements:
Doug Drexler --
We lost greatness today. Brother, partner, best friend. One of the greatest creative minds I've ever worked with. A wizard that made the impossible possible on a television budget. You go to the movies and see a VFX credit roll that runs for 15 minutes. It better damn well be great. Gary would do movie sized stuff, and everyone would fit on one card. The guy was a genius. This is the way it was: Gary set up an environment that was more like a band of brothers and sisters. A club house where everyone was a creative equal. Everyone was a filmmaker first, and a VFX artist second. He often said that you could not defeat a good idea, and with Gary you could have one. How strange is that? All of us lost greatness today, and for me personally, the loss defies measure.
Mike and Denise Okuda --
The joy and wonder that Gary Hutzel found in his work was a big part of why he was such a treasured friend and colleague. So much of Star Trek’s visual magic grew from Gary’s artistry and dedication, as well as from the passion he inspired in his team.
John Eaves --
Back in the TNG days, I was making models with Greg Jein and we would take them to a place called Image G to be filmed. That is where I met the great Gary Hutzel. What an amazing man he was, and it was great fun to watch him set up a motion-control shot for the VFX. A man with a great sense of humor, and he loved to be creative and work, work, work. You had to make him take a day off or go home at the end of a long work day. We did a Joe Dante show called The Osiris Chronicles and whenever the main ship would be on the rig to film he would shout out, "It's a fish!" Hah... and that is what it looked like. I loved that Mister Hutzel and will miss him terribly.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Hutzel originally began studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Hutzel decided to change his career to the motion picture industry and moved to Santa Barbara, California to study photography. His Hollywood career began with a job as a driver and video camera operator for a commercial production house. It was there, at Filmfair that he became interested in visual effects. Hutzel went on to freelance for CBS on the new Twilight Zone series before he was approached in 1987 to work on TNG.
Hutzel is survived by his wife Cathy and their three children, William, Andrew and Francis. Please join StarTrek.com in offering our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and fans.