Star Trek VFX Artist Gary Hutzel Dies at 60


Gary Hutzel, Emmy Award Winning VFX artist known for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has died at age 60.

Hailing originally from Ann Arbor Michigan, Gary Hutzel left his mechanical engineering studies behind to move to Santa Barbara, CA to pursue a career in the film industry. There he studied photography at the Brooks Institute and subsequently began his motion picture career working as a video camera operator, which sparked his interest in visual effects. His early VFX work was as a freelancer on CBS’s The Twilight Zone, a gig that got him noticed by the team putting together the then Star Trek reboot, The Next Generation.

Hired to work on Trek in 1987, Hutzel lead visual effects for The Next Generation for the first five seasons of its run. After the end of TNG’s fifth season, Hutzel and VFX colleague Robert Legato transferred to the new Star Trek show on the block, Deep Space Nine, which Hutzel worked on for its entire run. One of his most notable contributions to DS9 is his work on the episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” in which Hutzel oversaw the integration of footage from the Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” into the freshly shot DS9 footage. Mike Okuda has spoken highly of Hutzel’s work on that particular episode:

“I should mention that Gary Hutzel and his team were also nominated for an Emmy for their seamless integration of the original series footage with our new Deep Space Nine scenes.(…)it was Gary Hutzel who spearheaded the beautiful transfers of the original “Trouble with Tribbles” episode. Throughout the process we were constantly amazed when Gary would show us new details in the original film that we had never seen before, and we were constantly impressed with the artistry and ingenuity of Star Trek’s original designers and filmmakers.”

Hutzel was nominated for Emmy Awards for work on both Trek series, including nominations for TNG episodes “Tin Man” and “The Best of Both Worlds” Parts I & II, and DS9 episodes “The Way of the Warrior”, “Trials and Tribble-ations”, “One Little Ship”, and “What You Leave Behind”, and Emmy Award wins for TNG episode “Conundrum” and the DS9 episode “Emissary”.

Mike and Denise Okuda who worked along side Hutzel, gave their condolences on Facebook yesterday, saying:

Beyond Star Trek, Hutzel is known for his visual effects work on Battlestar Galactica and Caprica for which he was nominated for six Emmy Awards and won two more. In 2011, Hutzel reunited with Trek VFX alums on the Battlestar spinoff Blood and Chrome, which earned him yet another Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects that he shared with Mike Gibson (visual effects producer), David Takemura (senior visual effects coordinator), Doug Drexler (CGI supervisor), David R. Morton (CGI artist), Kyle Toucher (CGI artist), Derek Ledbetter (compositor), Heather McAuliff (compositor), and Jesse Siglow (compositor).

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RIP Gary Hutzel…you will be missed!

This is very sad news. RIP.

What a sad loss… and so young too. My condolences to his family and friends.

I felt the work on the visual integration on “Trials and Tribble-ations” was excellent. RIP to a talented artist.

Very sad news. ST, and we, were very lucky to have the best in the business working on the show.

Gary will truly be missed. As a co-work and friend he was one in a million. RIP.. you will be missed and thank you for being a mentor and you contribution to visual effects. My deepest condolences to his family.

I really appreciate the contributions that Mr. Hutzel made to the look and feel of TNG and DS9. I have enjoyed his work for a good part of my life and this sad news feels like a friend died. He will be much missed.

Poor guy, didn’t even make it to the retirement age of 65. I’m calling it quits at 55…if i live to see that age. Makes no darn sense to keep working…even if its a job you love doing.

Couldn’t agree more, Alec.

Very sad news. A great artist who will live forever through Star Treks legacy and the worlds he helped to create. People like Gary Hutzel are one of the fee cornerstones behind Star Trek. RIP

Awe, man, so young.

RIP, Trials & Tribulations was an amazing episode, even by today’s standards twenty years later. (Has it really been 20 years? wow I’m old)

BTW: The only thing that sucked about that episode was the music. When the Defiant crew saw the Enterprise on the view screen for the first time we should have heard the Courage fanfare and then have multiple callbacks to the original series’ motifs throughout the ep. But the effects were perfect!

Just this week Trek also lost actor Lee Reherman who appeared in Star Trek into Darkness but was best known as “Hawk” on American Gladiators.

Very sad. It would have been great if could have worked on the new Star Trek series. Need to have a U.S.S. Hutzel in the new series.

I’m deeply sorry for his passing. He’ll be missed dearly.