Born: 5 February 1940
Died: 12 May 2014
Birthplace: Chur, Switzerland
Best known as: The designer of the Alien monster
Name at birth: Hans Rudolf Giger
H.R. Giger was a Swiss painter of dark fantasy and the designer of the monster from the Alien movie series. He studied architecture at Zurich's School of the Applied Arts, and for a brief time after 1966 worked as an interior designer, while also sketching and painting. By 1968 he was painting full time and gaining notice in Europe, where his air-brushed, sometimes horrific images in posters and in his book Necronomicon earned a small following. He did the album cover to Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery in 1973, and the next year began working with filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky on a film adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel Dune (an unfinished project; Dune was later filmed by David Lynch). Ridley Scott hired Giger to create designs for 1979's Alien, and Giger's blend of body and machine (what he called "biomechanoids") became an iconic design style. He also won an Oscar. He didn't much like working in the movies, however, so Giger settled in Switzerland and eventually bought a castle in Gruyeres to house his paintings and art collection -- The H.R. Giger Museum. In May of 2014 he fell down some stairs at his home in Zurich and died in the hospital from injuries. Other films that used his designs include Species (1995) and Prometheus (2012, also by Ridley Scott).
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