17 December 2009 11:24 PM, PST | EmpireOnline | See recent EmpireOnline news »

Dan O'Bannon, the sci-fi and horror screenwriter behind some of the genres' most recognisable titles, has died in Los Angeles following a short illness. He was 63.A USC graduate in the same year as John Carpenter, O'Bannon was instrumental in Carpenter's cracking (and crackpot) first feature Dark Star, serving as co-writer, FX supervisor, production designer and editor, and playing Sgt Pinback (who turns out not to be Sgt Pinback at all). O'Bannon is the one who chases the beachball alien all over the spaceship; an idea that would sort of resurface later...O'Bannon did some FX work on Star Wars in 1977, but is best known for kickstarting a different franchise. While authorship of Alien as we know it today is down to a number of people, there's no question that O'Bannon's Star Beast screenplay set the ball rolling, and he brought many of his colleagues from Alejandro Jodorowsky's aborted Dune to the project. »


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