Gregory Jein, Master Model Maker Who Worked on Star Trek and More, Dies at 76

Celebrated Hollywood artist and model maker Gregory Jein, who worked on iconic sci-fi stories including Star Trek and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has died. He was 76 years old. A spokesperson for Jein's family tells The Hollywood Reporter that Jein died on May 22nd after dealing with a long history of health-related issues, including diabetes. The family chose to keep Jein's death to themselves until now. Jein's work with Star Trek began in 1977, with designs for a Klingon battle cruiser for Star Trek: Phase II, the Star Trek: The Original Series sequel that never made it to television. 

After that, he worked with special effects legend Douglas Trumbull (who also died earlier this year) on 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the film made in Phase II's place. He returned to Star Trek cinema to contribute to 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, 1998's Star Trek: Insurrection, and 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis. He also worked on all three major Star Trek shows of the 1990s: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. He earned an Emmy nomination for his work on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations."

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Jein also earned an Emmy nomination for his work on HBO's 2003 adaptation of Angels in America. Over his career, he earned eight nominations from the Art Directors Guild, most recently for 2020's Mulan.

Jein shared visual effects nominations from the Academy Awards for work done on Close Encounters of the Third Kind in 1971 and on 1941 in 1979. His other credits include working with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 and Interstellar in 2014, as well as 1981's One From the Heart, 1984's The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, 1990's The Hunt for Red October, 1995's Judge Dredd, 2002's The Scorpion King, 2005's Fantastic Four, 2009's Avatar, 2011's Reel Steel, 2012's John Carter, and 2016's Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Star Trek graphic designer Michael Okuda took to Facebook to express his grief over Jein's death. He wrote:

"Greg had a wry sense of humor and was endlessly inventive. He always seemed to find a way to provide us with spaceships, even when only a tiny budget was available. He genuinely loved Star Trek and was always generous with his expertise and his experience, giving many top modelers their start in the business. Greg had been ill for some time, but his passing is nevertheless a gut punch."

Jein is survived by cousins Eleanor, Cheryl, Jerry, Vivian, Laura and Janice and their families. Jein's family is planning a ceremony to celebrate his life.