Visual effects pioneer Petro Vlahos dies

Oscar-winner made the green and blue screen systems that are still used today

Petro Vlahos, the Oscar-winning visual effects genius who pioneered green screen technology, has died aged 96.

The inventor and engineer provided his cutting-edge contributions to films such as 'Mary Poppins', 'The Birds' and 'Ben-Hur', allowing special effects the likes of which had not been seen before.

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Vlahos... effects legend dies at 96 (Copyright: YouTube)

As well as 'Mary Poppins', which used his techniques to allow Julie Andrews to dance with penguins, his technology was used on many other Disney films including 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' and 'The Love Bug'.

Meanwhile, the blue-screen system that he made for 'Ben-Hur' was later adopted and used in hundreds of films from the original 'Star Wars' trilogy to 'Indiana Jones'.

Blue and green screen technology used to today still derives from the techniques developed by Vlahos, many times an Oscar-winner for his work.

The Academy awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994.

Fellow visual effects veteran Bill Taylor, who has worked on over 130 films, said: “It hard to emphasize the importance of his inventions.

“His inventions made a whole genre of film possible - a genre that seems to make more money than any other. He created the whole of composite photography as we know it - blue screen, green screen, an important contribution to the sodium vapor system.

“He leaves no unfinished business. He lived a life full of achievement and honor and the love of his family.”