Influential Visual Futurist, Concept Artist, Designer Syd Mead Dies At 86
Syd Mead
His iconic work spans such films as "Blade Runner," "Star Trek: The Motion Picture," "Tron"
  • PASADENA, Calif.
  • --

Visionary artist and intellect Syd Mead passed away peacefully at his home in Pasadena on Monday, December 30. Roger Servick, his spouse and business partner of 40 years, was by his side and recalls his last words “I’m done here, they’re coming to take me back.”  Mead was 86 years old. 

Mead was best known for his artistic contributions to more than 30 motion pictures including as a concept artist on some of the most visually impressive films in the history of cinema. In addition to working with director Robert Wise on Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1978 as a production illustrator, Mead worked with Ridley Scott on Blade Runner, with Steven Lisberger on his striking designs for the light cycles in Tron, and with James Cameron on his creative concepts for the U.S.S. Sulaco in Aliens. Mead’s iconic work contributed to additional blockbuster features including Blade Runner 2049, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, Short Circuit, Time Cop, Tomorrowland, Mission: Impossible III, Mission to Mars, and Elysium. His screen credit as visual futurist perfectly encapsulated his remarkable talent for fully conceptualizing what the future could look like.
Before turning to work on movies and video games, Mead visualized technology and products for companies like Ford Motor Company, U.S. Steel, Philips Electronics, Sony, Minolta, Dentsu, Dyflex, Tiger, Seibu, Mitsukoshi, Honda, Chrysler, Mechanix Illustrated, and Playboy. In 2018, Mead published his autobiography “A Future Remembered,” which joined “The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist” and “Sentry II” as currently available publications about him and his work.

Aside from his prodigious artistic talents, Mead was insightful, clever, generous, witty and classy.  In his personal works, numbering in the hundreds, his vision of the future was always bright, positive and inspiring, a true reflection of him as a man. 

Nelson Coates, president of the Art Directors Guild (IATSE Local 800), said, “On behalf of the Art Directors Guild, we are saddened to hear that Syd Mead has passed away at 86 and extend our condolences to his family and friends. As previously announced, the ADG was to honor Syd at our annual awards event on February 1 with the William Cameron Menzies Award and it is our plan to continue to recognize this inspiring talent. Syd Mead has played a pivotal role in shaping cinema with his unique ability to visualize the future. His visions and illustrations of future technological worlds remain as a testament to his vast imagination. While we are sorry he was not able to experience the celebration in person, we know his presence will be felt as we acknowledge his contributions to the world of design in all forms.”

Mead is survived and forever loved by his sister, Peggy Lee, and Servick.

The family wishes to express their gratitude for the outpouring of love and appreciation and asks that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to the City of Hope Cancer Research Center in Mead’s memory.

The address for contributions is:
City of Hope Cancer Research 
1500 E. Duarte Road
Duarte, CA  91010


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