Oscar-winning special effects artist Joe Viskocil, who blew up the Death Star at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, died Monday from complications of liver and kidney failure. He was 61. Viskocil began working for George Lucas in 1975 and a year later produced the memorable blast that enabled Luke Skywalker to destroy the Death Star. He went on to work on Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, creating the on-screen illusion of the gigantic Imperial AT-AT walkers during the invasion of the rebel base on the ice planet Hoth. He was a member of the VFX team that won a Best Visual Effects Oscar for Independence Day (1996). Other film credits include Terminator, True Lies, Interview With A Vampire, Godzilla, The Panic Room and Star Trek Nemesis.
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