Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Special Effects Artist Arnold "Buddy" Gillespie 1978 Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery

Albert Arnold Gillespie (October 14, 1899 – May 3, 1978) was an American cinema special effects artist.[2]


He was born on October 14, 1899 in El Paso, Texas. Gillespie joined MGM as a set designer in 1925, a year after it was founded. He was educated at Columbia University and the Arts Students League. His first project was the silent film Ben-Hur, released that same year. He worked at the studio in various capacities until 1962. In 1936, he became the head of MGM's Special Effects Department.[3]

Arnold "Buddy" Gillespie died on May 3, 1978 in Los Angeles, California. He is interred at Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery


He wrote a book, The Wizard of MGM: Memoirs of A. Arnold Gillespie. Gillispie's nickname was "Buddy."

Academy Award wins and nominations

Wins shown in Purple

Special Effects 1939: The Wizard of Oz – Photographic[4]

Special Effects 1940: Boom Town – Photographic[5]
Special Effects 1941: Flight Command – Photographic[6]
Special Effects 1942: Mrs. Miniver – Photographic (with Warren Newcombe)[7]
Special Effects 1943: Stand By For Action – Photographic (with Donald Jahraus)[8]

Special Effects 1944: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo – Photographic (with Donald Jahraus and Warren Newcombe)[9]

Special Effects 1945: They Were Expendable – Photographic (with Donald Jahraus and R. A. MacDonald)
Special Effects 1947: Green Dolphin Street – Visual (with Warren Newcombe)
Special Effects 1956: Forbidden Planet
Special Effects 1958: Torpedo Run – Special Effects (Visual)
Special Effects 1959: Ben-Hur – Special Effects (Visual) (with Robert A. MacDonald)
Special Effects 1962: Mutiny On The Bounty – Special Effects (Visual)
Scientific or Technical (Class III) 1963: For the engineering of an improved Background Process Projection System (with Douglas Shearer)

Personal life

A. Arnold Gillespie married Nell Hill in 1944. She died in 2000. They had one child, Thomas Scott Gillespie (1944-61). 

A. Arnold Gillespie was previously married to aviator Ruth Elder, with whom he had a son, William Trent Gillespie (1940-2008).

Partial filmography for special effects

Inasmuch as he worked on numerous films (IMDb credits him with 203), only some of the better known ones and ones involving prominent special effects are listed below.

Ben-Hur (1925)
Night Flight (1933) (uncredited)
San Francisco (1936) (uncredited)
Test Pilot (1938)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Boom Town (1940)
Comrade X (1940)
Flight Command (1940)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Stand By For Action (1943)
A Guy Named Joe (1943)
Song of Russia (1944)
The Heavenly Body (1944)
The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
Mrs. Parkington (1944)
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)
The Clock (1945)

Son of Lassie (1945)

They Were Expendable (1945)
Lady in the Lake (1947)
The Beginning or the End (1947)
The Sea of Grass (1947)
The Hucksters (1947)
Green Dolphin Street (1947)
State of the Union (1948)
Command Decision (1948)
The Secret Garden (1949)
Adam's Rib (1949)
Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
Kim (1950)
Angels in the Outfield (1951)
Quo Vadis (1951)
Scaramouche (1952)

Plymouth Adventure (1952)

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
Young Bess (1953)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

High Society (1956)
Jailhouse Rock (1957)
Torpedo Run (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959)
Ben-Hur (1959)
Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961)
How the West Was Won (1962)
Mutiny On The Bounty (1962)
The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)


1. Arnold "Buddy" Gillespie at Find a Grave
2. "A. Arnold Gillespie". International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers. Special Effects Technician and Art Director. Nationality: American. Born: A. Arnold Gillespie in El Paso, Texas, 14 October 1899. Education: Attended Columbia University, New York; Art Students League, New York. Career: 1922–24 – assistant art director at Paramount; 1924–36 – art director, MGM; 1936–65 – head of MGM's special effects department, working on some 600 films. Awards: Academy Award for Thirty Seconds over Tokyo , 1944; Green Dolphin Street , 1947; Plymouth Adventure , 1952; Ben-Hur 1959; Technical Award, 1963. Died: 3 May 1978.
3. "Arnold A. Gillespie biography". Movies and TV. The New York Times(All Movie Guide and Baseline). Retrieved 2010-10-28. Known as "Buddy" to friends and colleagues, A. Arnold Gillespie was educated at Columbia University and the Arts Students League. Entering films in 1922, Gillespie was an art director at MGM from 1924 to 1936. Thereafter, and until his retirement in the 1960s, he was in charge of the studio's special effects department. A. Arnold Gillespie received Academy Awards for his supervision of the matte, miniature, and back projection work on 30 Seconds Over Tokyo (1943), Green Dolphin Street (1947), Plymouth Adventure (1952) and Ben-Hur (1959) – and though he didn't win an award for Forbidden Planet (1956) the film was one of his best.
4. "The 12th Academy Awards (1940) Nominees and Winners".
5. "The 13th Academy Awards (1941) Nominees and Winners".
6. "The 14th Academy Awards (1942) Nominees and Winners".
7. "The 15th Academy Awards (1943) Nominees and Winners".
8. "The 16th Academy Awards (1944) Nominees and Winners".
9. "The 17th Academy Awards (1945) Nominees and Winners".

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