Lawrence W. Butler

Lawrence W. Butler
Born (1908-07-30)July 30, 1908
Akron, Ohio, United States
Died October 19, 1988(1988-10-19) (aged 80)
Fallbrook, California, United States
Occupation Special effects artist
Years active 1936–1973

Lawrence W. Butler (July 30, 1908 October 19, 1988) was an American special effects artist. He won an Academy Award for Best Special Effects and was nominated for three more in the same category.


Butler's pre-career days were spent in the United States working for his father, William Butler, who worked in films as an optical effects director. He moved to England in the mid 1930s and landed his first independent job with the London Films working for the Hungarian-born producer/director Alexander Korda's chartbuster film Things to Come (1936). His first stint was to do films called The Man Who Could Work Miracles and Fire Over England. What worked wonders for him was the innovative idea of introducing "blue-screen travelling matte process" in special effects, which he developed with his colleagues and implemented it in the Academy Award winning film The Thief of Bagdad in 1940. He went back to the United States and Hollywood after this film and, in course of time, won another Academy Award in 1942 for special effects for The Jungle Book.[1]

Butler then worked for Warner Bros., and did special effects for Casablanca. After the end of World War II, he worked for Columbia Pictures on films such as Gilda, The Lady From Shanghai and The Caine Mutiny. He retired in 1973 after his last film called Charley Varrick.[1]

Selected filmography

Butler won an Academy Award for Best Special Effects and was nominated for three more:



  1. 1 2 Bruce Eder, Rovi. "Lawrence W. Butler". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  2. "The 13th Academy Awards (1941) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  3. "The 14th Academy Awards (1942) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
  4. "The 15th Academy Awards (1943) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-22.

External links

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