Los Angeles-born Douglas Trumbull was originally a technical illustrator before he began work, at Graphic Films, on documentary films about NASA and the Air Force. It was one of those films, seen by director Stanley Kubrick, that got Trumbull hired as a special effects supervisor on 2001: A Space Odyssey. The latter film -- which showcased the slit-scan special effects process invented by Trumbull -- established Trumbull as an important special effects director and designer, and three years later he made his debut behind the camera with Silent Running, a message-laden environmental science-fiction film that got positive reviews and developed a strong cult audience. Trumbull received Oscar nominations for his work in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Blade Runner, but his next directed film, Brainstorm (1983), was marred by tragedy when actress Natalie Wood died shortly before her final scenes were to have been shot, resulting in a long battle between the studio and the insurance company over whether to shelve the film or recut it with some scenes rewritten, which was the solution finally arrived at after several months. Since then, Trumbull has returned to special effects design work, specifically at the Universal Studios theme park.