Syd Mead, Legendary Designer and Illustrator for Films Like Blade Runner and Aliens, Dies at 86

Syd Mead, the celebrated designer and concept artist for films like Blade Runner, Aliens, and more has died. He was 86. According to Mead's The Hollywood Reporter, the cause of death was complications from lymphoma cancer. Initially reported on Facebook by those who knew him, the news of his passing was confirmed only recently by his partner and manager, Roger Servick. The designer continued to produce work late into his life, and even returned to a world he once helped define with some work on Blade Runner 2049.

According to his own biography, Mead attended Art Center College of Design, Pasadena after graduating high school and serving three years in the United States Army in the early '50s. He graduated in 1959, and was hired by the Ford Motor Company's Advanced Styling Studio, but parted ways with the studio after two years to illustrate books and catalogs. He went on to launch his own company in 1970, providing designs and illustrations for companies like Philips Electronics.

But it was only in the late 1970s that the man would really begin what he's arguably become most famous for: working on films. Starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and then doing work designing and illustrating for Blade Runner, Tron, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Aliens, Short Circuit, Johnny Mnemonic, Mission: Impossible III, and more. More recently, Mead provided concept art and designs for the likes of Neill Blomkamp's Elysium and Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049. If you're a fan of science fiction, there is a good chance you've seen his work. (Mead also notably provided designs for the anime Turn A Gundam and Yamato 2520.)

Photo credit: Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

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