Ron Cobb, designer of the Back To The Future DeLorean, Alien’s Nostromo, dies aged 83

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Ron Cobb, the celebrated production designer behind key elements in Back To The Future along with the Conan, Alien and Star Wars films has passed away.

Ron Cobb, the landmark production designer famed for bringing a grounded aesthetic to his creations, has died at the age of 83. He leaves behind an incredible body of work.

From designing some of the aliens in the brilliant Star Wars cantina sequence to influencing the naturalistic style of the Conan films, Cobb was famed for the ‘lived-in’ nature of his work, perhaps best exemplified by the ‘homebrew’-style creation of the DeLorean in Back to the Future. 

Cobb also designed the interiors and exteriors of the Nostromo in Alien, as well as the mothership interior in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and did vehicle work on The Last Starfighter. 

On top of all of that, Cobb, whilst working on Conan The Barbarian, became friends with Steven Spielberg whilst the latter was filming Raiders Of The Lost Ark on the same lot. Impressed by his visual approach to storytelling, Spielberg invited Cobb to direct Night Skies, the follow-up to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Whilst that never happened, (and that’s a film story and a half!), Cobb ended up with some story input into the project’s eventual successor, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. 

Cobb’s work continues to resonate with film fans to this day, shaping the direction of modern production design. The Hollywood Reporter have covered Cobb’s life in greater detail, which is well worth a read here.

Rest in peace, Mr Cobb. Thank you for everything, the best to your friends and family in this difficult time.

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