Richard Edlund, ASC, is a cinematographer and visual effects director who was born in Fargo, North Dakota. While serving in the United States Navy, he developed an interest in motion pictures and upon his discharge attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts in the early 1960s. On the strength of popular and Clio-awarded commercials, he was picked to serve as the first cameraman and founding member of the embryonic Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) on the production of STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE (1977), for which he received his first Oscar.
He further embellished his reputation by winning three more Oscars for visual effects on Star Wars: Episode V– The Empire Strikes Back (1980), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), as well as a nomination for Poltergeist (1982). He has received six additional Oscar Nominations, three Academy Scientific and Engineering Awards, two BAFTA Awards and an Emmy.
In 1983, Edlund left ILM and founded a visual effects company called Boss Film Studios, whose maiden project was Ghostbusters (1984). Boss produced visual effects for 30-plus movies; notable among them were 2010 (1984), Die Hard (1988), Ghost (1990), Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), Cliffhanger (1993), Batman Returns (1992), Alien3 (1992), Species (1995), Multiplicity (1996) and Air Force One (1997). The company achieved 10 Academy Award nominations over a 14-year period.
Following Boss, he continued to build his credit list as a freelance supervisor, re-uniting with Director Harold Ramis for the comedy Bedazzled (2000) as visual effects supervisor and its 2nd unit director. He supervised the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries Angels in America for Mike Nichols, supervised sequences in The Stepford Wives (2004) for director Frank Oz and joined again with the great Mike Nichols for his final movie, Charlie Wilson’s War (2007).
Richard has long served as a governor of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was chairman of its Visual Effects Branch for 12 years from its inception. And he has once more returned to chair its Branch Executive Committee. For many years he chaired the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. In 2008, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) presented him with its President’s Award in recognition of the contributions he has made to the art and craft of filmmaking. He also actively served on the board of the ASC, and the Visual Effects Society.
Edlund developed and manufactured the Pignose portable guitar amplifier in 1969, during his ‘working hippy’ era as a rock & roll photographer; producing album covers for such artists as The 5th Dimension, Warren Zevon, Seals & Crofts, The Grassroots, The Turtles, Three Dog Night and others.