World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Albert Whitlock

Albert Whitlock
Whitlock's matte for
"Where No Man Has Gone Before",
the second Star Trek pilot
Born (1915-09-15)September 15, 1915
London, England
Died October 26, 1999(1999-10-26) (aged 84)
Santa Barbara, California
Occupation Matte artist

Albert J. Whitlock (September 15, 1915 – October 26, 1999) was a British-born motion picture matte artist best known for his work with Disney and Universal Studios.


  • Life and career 1
  • Awards 2
    • Awards won 2.1
    • Awards nominated 2.2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

His film career began as a page at Gaumont Studios in London in 1929, before going on to build sets and work as a grip. Trained as a sign painter, he began a lifelong association with Alfred Hitchcock, assisting in the miniature effects for The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) and then completing all of the signs for The 39 Steps (1935).

Whitlock began working as a matte artist during World War II. Recruited by Walt Disney, who was an admirer of his work, he relocated to the United States in the early 1950s. At Disney, where the head of the Matte Department was fellow-Londoner and near-exact contemporary Peter Ellenshaw, he successfully mastered the impressionistic approach to matte painting that he would become known for. He remained with the studio for seven years, helping with the design of Disneyland as well as film work, before moving to Universal in 1961. There he served as the head of their matte department, resuming his collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock and many other directors, until retiring from the company in 1985 (though he continued to work on the odd production for a few years afterwards).

His crowning achievement was the creation of over 70 individual matte paintings for the disaster film Earthquake (1974), for which he received an Academy Award. He won the Oscar again the following year for The Hindenburg, in which he re-created the great airship and its final voyage. Universal loaned out Whitlock and his team to other studios for visual effects work on films including Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, the David Lynch version of Dune, Mame, The Learning Tree and Bound for Glory. In the latter film, Whitlock created the famous Dust Storm with moving cotton-covered disks.

One of his last films was for John Carpenter's 1982 sci-fi film The Thing, where he painted all the shots of the uncovered alien starship. These included both distant and close-up viewpoints. [1][2]

In addition to his film work, Whitlock is known to Star Trek fans for all of the matte paintings used in the original series, some of which he reworked for use in its later episodes. (These have been replaced by CGI replicas in the remastered version of the series.)

Whitlock was also responsible for the matte paintings in History of the World, Part I, and appeared in the movie as a character hawking used chariots. He also produced background mattes for Brooks earlier film High Anxiety, and appeared in that film in a small role as "noted industrialist Arthur Brisbane."


Awards won

Awards nominated


  1. ^
  2. ^

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.