Producer and Visual Effects Supervisor John Swallow has passed away at 65. He was a member of the Society for more than two decades, and will be missed by all who knew him.
A straightforward man with a generous spirit and a gift for making friends, John Swallow pursued artistic expression throughout his life, from his work on a wide range of Hollywood films to his bluesy rock 'n' roll music and vivid nature photography.
After receiving a bachelor's in Design and Photography from California State University, Long Beach, John worked for Apogee Productions, rising to Vice President of Production. There and elsewhere, he pioneered cutting-edge special effects technologies, leaving Apogee to become Executive Producer at Pacific Data Images, where his feature film work included effects for NATURAL BORN KILLERS, CARLITO'S WAY, TOYS, LORENZO'S OIL, TWIN PEAKS, GREMLINS 2, DIE HARD 2 and THE NATURAL. John was also the Effects Producer for the film DRAGONHEART.
He then became Executive Vice President of Production Technology at Universal Studios with the following titles released during his tenure: the BOURNE series, KING KONG, FAST AND FURIOUS 1 & 2, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, JURASSIC PARK 2 & 3, the MUMMY series, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, the NUTTY PROFESSOR movies, GLADIATOR and more.
John also worked as an independent producer with projects all over the world, which included CABIN IN THE WOODS, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, CIRQUE DU FREAK, LAND OF THE LOST, RED DAWN, and SINCITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR. He was the VFX Supervisor on the Netflix projects GODLESS and THE HIGHWAYMEN. John was a member of the Producers Guild, the Visual Effects Society, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Visual Effects Branch.
John developed his intense love of nature on family camping and fishing trips. While still in high school, he volunteered for the Mountain Lion Foundation to save cougars from extinction and worked with the American Cetacean Society to educate people about the plight of the California Gray Whale. Before his career in film, he trained and handled big cats, primates, and elephants for Marine World, Africa U.S.A. John also helped produce The Ocean Symphony, a series of PSAs for Ocean Conservancy. For several years, John served on the boards of two conservation groups, Vital Ground Foundation and The Cougar Fund. He was also an adviser and pro bono photographer for Wildlife Land Trust, the conservation arm of The Humane Society.
Two converging themes of John’s life - art and nature - found expression in his music and his wildlife photography. John had two solo photography shows and participated in group shows in the Los Angeles area. As a member of Hurricane Inside, he pursued a lifelong love of music, producing two albums with his band and performing at the SXSW Music Festival. John E. Swallow died at home in Los Angeles. He was planning another trip to Alaska to photograph wildlife, among other creative projects.