Oscar-nominated ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ VFX Artist Pete Kozachik Has Passed Away At The Age Of 72

Pete Kozachik, the Academy Award-nominated visual effects artist who worked on many stop-motion movies, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, Corpse Bride and Coraline, passed away. He was 72 years old.

What was the cause of Pete Kozachik’s death?

Pete Kozachik passed away on Tuesday peacefully at his home in Northern California due to complications from primary progressive aphasia (a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease), Katy Moore-Kozachik announced. Aside from his wife Katy, survivors include his younger brother, vice mayor of Tucson, Steve, sister-in-law Ann, and niece Kimberly. Kozachik’s wife also worked as a scenic artist on Corpse Bride and Coraline along with her husband, a renowned visual effects artist.

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Despite his medical condition — he was diagnosed with aphasia a decade ago — Kozachik got a gig on Tippett’s animated horror fantasy Mad God in 2021 and distributed his memoir, Tales From the Pumpkin King’s Cameraman.

Pete Kozachik: A Colorful Legacy In Film

Kozachik also worked on Ghostbusters II (1989), as the director of miniature photography on Starship Troopers (1997), and as a visual effects photographer on Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002). He worked on films such as Howard the Duck (1986), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), Innerspace (1987), and Willow (1988) at Industrial Light & Magic before rejoining regular partner Phil Tippett for the RoboCop sequels released in 1990 and 1993.

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He was also the director of photography for The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), James and the Giant Peach (1996) — all produced by Tim Burton — and Coraline (2009) for filmmaker Henry Selick. Corpse Bride (2005) for Burton and co-director Mike Johnson is also added in the long list of Pete Kozachik’s achievements. He was then nominated for an Oscar for best visual effects in Nightmare alongside Eric Leighton, Ariel Velasco-Shaw, and Gordon Baker.