Frank Van der Veer
Born(1921-06-02)June 2, 1921
DiedJanuary 7, 1982(1982-01-07) (aged 60)
OccupationVisual effects artist
Years active1950–1982
SpouseVelma "Val" Van der Veer (March 9, 1930 – Oct. 20, 2009)

Frank Willard Van der Veer (June 2, 1921 – January 7, 1982) was an American optical and visual special effects artist who won (and shared) a Special Achievement Academy Award at the 49th Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects for the film King Kong[2] (1976). His career spanned over three decades from the 1950s until his death in the early 1980s, having participated in the Hollywood special effects industry with such other films as The Towering Inferno[3] (1974), Killer Bees (1974), Logan's Run (1976), Star Wars (1977), 1941 (1979), Flash Gordon (1980), Clash of the Titans (1981) and Conan the Barbarian (1982).

Frank Van der Veer was the son of the American cinematographer Willard Van der Veer (1894–1963).


Frank Van der Veer was a veteran of World War II. After the war he began his career in the 1950s working for the Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox special effects departments. Then, a few years later, on August 13 1963,[4] he founded Van Der Veer Photo Effects with partner Bill Dorney, after having apprenticed with Bill Abbott from 1950–1957 in the 20th Century Fox studios.[5] In 1977, he won a Special Achievement Academy Award for King Kong (1976). This award was shared with Carlo Rambaldi and Glen Robinson.[6] Frank's father, Willard Van der Veer, had also won an Oscar, 47 years before. That was on November 5, 1930, at the 3rd Academy Awards, for Best Cinematography for the film With Byrd at the South Pole[7] with Joseph T. Rucker.[8]

In the time he ran his company, Van der Veer worked both for the television and film industries. For the television medium, he contributed in the effects of the original Star Trek series (1966) and, in 1978, he was nominated for an Emmy for his work on The Return of Captain Nemo.

Van Der Veer Photo Effects worked on lightsabres for the movie Star Wars (1977).[9]

Frank Van der Veer died on January 7, 1982. He was buried at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Los Angeles County, California. His company, Van Der Veer Photo Effects, survived him for 15 years more until it was dissolved on October 4, 1997.[10]

Selected filmography

Credited as Frank Van der Veer

Credited as Van der Veer Photo Effects

Van Der Veer Photo Effects selected filmography (after Van Der Veer died)


  1. ^ Velma Van der Veer obituary (
  2. ^ 49th Academy Awards Ceremony page (
  3. ^ "Special Effects: Wire, Tape and Rubber Band Style", by L. B. Abbott
  4. ^ California Corporates: Van Der Veer Photo Effects' profile
  5. ^ Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Art and Technology in 1970s U.S. Filmmaking, Julie A. Turnock, ProQuest, 2008, p. 111
  6. ^ 49th Academy Awards Ceremony page (
  7. ^ "Willard van der Veer | Movies and Filmography".
  8. ^ 3rd Academy Awards Ceremony page (
  9. ^ "Five Star Wars myths you'll be arguing over this Christmas". South China Morning Post. 2019-12-25. Retrieved 2019-12-25.
  10. ^ Wysk B2B Data Hub: Van Der Veer Photo Effects' profile (archived link)