Matt Yuricich, the passing of a Hollywood legend

Matt painting a Matte from Bladerunner

May 28th, 2012 marks the passing of a dear friend and a Hollywood Legend. Matt Yuricich was one of the greatest Matte Painters the movie industry has ever seen, and his Oscar winning talents span decades of incredible motion picture masterpieces. I met Matt at Apogee in early 1987 and he was hidden in a dark back room of the shop painting away for a small show the company had going on.. I didn’t know much about his history but I did know he did the paintings for Blade Runner and Ghostbusters… It took a while for him to ease in to a conversation but I quickly found out that he was as big of a fan of Ding Dongs as I was.. It was an odd ice breaker but from there on he would always ask if I had anymore when I would walk by, HAAA! He was at the shop for about two months and it was always a treat to watch him work when I could sneak over. He was a gentleman, an artist and a very funny man. I always remembered those days of working with one of my idols and his passing is a sad one indeed.. Years later I found out he worked on Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” and it was a thrill to find out that he did all of my favorite paintings from the film..

Below is a link to a tribute page put together by NZpete from a couple of years ago and he has really put together an awesome array of Matt’s work from the beginning to the end. Goodby Matt and thanks for sharing your talents with us both on and off the screen. God’s speed my friend.  



19 Responses to “Matt Yuricich, the passing of a Hollywood legend”

  1. 1 tallguyproductions
    May 30, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Oh my goodness. He really did work on just about everything! That matte of the Golden Gate from Star Trek is one of my favorites ever. As is the house from North by Northwest. An astonishingly talented artist.

    • 2 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      I didn’t know he did the 57-D flying sucer from Forbidden Planet till I saw that blog tribute!!!! That has always been a big fav.. he was a brilliantly talented man.

  2. May 30, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I’d seen several of his painting over the years, several were actually temporarily stored at a motion control facility here in Los Angeles.
    Several from Bladerunner and several “element” paintings from Star Trek TMP, an Earth and an atmosphere element. Also a painting that I figured was a BG glow element from Close Encounters. The giveaway was the black shape of Devil’s tower. Glad to see that there were “elements” that gave further control for a shot. I would imagine there were held in register on the matte stand and comped “in Camera”. Mr Yuricich could paint the appropriate colors of intermediate film passes to help maximize optical quality.

    What I thought was particularly interesting was the threshold where as you step close to the painting it becomes quite abstract, then there was a point for me where it all just snapped together, usually two to three feet back.

    There is a level of personal confidence in one’s work required to stay loose while painting and yet know that it will photograph just right. Always been impressed by that quality, not only for Hollywood matte painters, but in the techniques of the great impressionists as well.

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Yuricich. You are an inspiring soul.

    • 4 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      You know Albert Whitlock’s paintings were the same way,, very loose but at that correct distance were sharp as could be.. I have always been in awe of Matte artists and have been very lucky to meet all of my favorites,, well almost I still haven’t met Mike Pengrazzio or Cris Evans.. How cool you got to see those paintings in person!!!

  3. May 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Reblogged this on Geeks of Christ and commented:
    Eaves says it better.

  4. 7 the bluesman
    May 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Brilliant. These paintings are cool, and hold up against the CG mattes being done today. Nothing wrong with CG, but in some cases old school is better.

    • 8 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Old school required a much larger skill and so few possessed that talent.. I so miss the hands on artistry that once was.. Paintings, art, models, cloud tanks, motion control… CG is also a talent but I grew up with the old ways,, It’s like a generation gap with music, HAAA!

  5. May 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Another legend passes. Fortunately, Mr. Yuricich’s legacy in film will live on to amaze future generations. You were lucky to have met and worked with him, John. You have my sympathies on the loss of your friend.

  6. May 31, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Thank you for sharing and honoring Matt. I was fortunate to know Matt in his later years and to hear his wonderfully colorful stories about all of you he worked with. Amazingly talented, yet so humble – he rarely spoke of his work, more of the people he knew along the way, the pranks, the parties, the fun he had while painting. So many captivating and funny stories. He was very proud of his military time in WWII, as well. How appropriate that he passed peacefully in his sleep on Memorial Day. Matt, you touched my life, along with so many others. I miss you so!

    • 12 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      What a lovely story and I too am sorry for your loss of a good friend… I never heard about his WWII days and it sounds like you were able to witness a lot of great memories from a great man..

  7. 13 Dan Curry
    May 31, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Matthew was one of my heroes and mentors. He was also a great archer who invented the counterweight for the bow that top archers around the world use. Matt was a true genius and kind person. The world is less without him.

    • 14 johneaves
      June 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      You said it Dan… Were getting to that time in life where a lot of these great artists are starting to pass.. we have been most fortunate to have been touched by there talents… I haven’t heard about his work with the the counterweight,, What a cool story.

  8. 15 JNG
    June 1, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Some of the work justifiably became famous on its own (e.g., Logan’s Run, Soylent Green and Blade Runner paintings), but I found the retrospective most interesting for the work I never even noticed, such as Field of Dreams. Subtlety and attention to detail, even on tight schedules and budgets, come through in the art.

    All that, plus a champion archer—and partying with Marilyn Monroe. A life to be proud of!

  9. 17 Matt Boardman
    June 5, 2012 at 12:48 am

    This is truly sad news! Truly and incredible and inspiring man! It is always sad when we lose someone of this calibur and somehow, the world seems a little lonlier without them. Thank you for everything, Matt! Thank you for sharing your talents with us and doing so with such a humble spirit about you. We will miss you!

  10. August 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I’m so glad my old photo tribute to Matthew was enjoyed by many. I was fortunate enough earlier this year to interview Matthew and put together his quite extensive and revealing oral history on his long career, the studio system and the diverse personalities of the special effects people Matt worked with – the results of which may be read as my latest (August 2012) article on NZPete’s Matte Shot blog.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

May 2012

%d bloggers like this: