Legendary ‘Alien’ Artist H.R. Giger Passes Away

Published 11 months ago by

HR Giger by Annie Bertram Legendary Alien Artist H.R. Giger Passes Away
Director Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror film Alien carried the tagline “In space, no one can hear you scream.” As superb as Scott’s direction was, coaxing genuine performances out of a talented cast, it is that film’s original xenomorph which haunts our nightmares to this day. The creature’s iconic, influential design was the brainchild of Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who has sadly passed away.

Giger reportedly died in a Swiss hospital on Monday, May 12th, 2014 from injuries sustained in a fall. He was 74 years old. The news was confirmed by Sandra Mivelaz, administrator of the H.R. Giger museum in Gruyeres, western Switzerland.

Giger was born Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger on February 5, 1940 in Chur, Switzerland. He was discouraged from pursuing art by his chemist father, who preferred he enter the pharmaceutics industry. Instead, Giger moved to Zürich to study interior and industrial design at the School of Commercial Art before attending the School of Applied Arts, where he studied architecture and industrial design, concentrations which are heavily reflected in his later artwork.

When it came to his art, Giger said the following to Starlog in 1979:

“My paintings seem to make the strongest impression on people who are, well, who are crazy. If they like my work they are creative … or they are crazy.”

HR Giger at Work 1024x678 Legendary Alien Artist H.R. Giger Passes Away

Giger had an intense romance with Swiss actress Li Tobler until her suicide in 1975 and his 1979 marriage to Mia Bonzanigo only lasted a year and a half. He is survived by spouse Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, who remains curator of the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland.

Giger will be forever known to horror fans as creator of the original xenomorph in Alien, and he also designed “The Derelict,”  the downed ship where the first creature is discovered, as well as the famous “Space Jockey,” the creature whose relative origins would be explored in Ridley Scott’s 2012 Prometheus.

He went on to contribute work to Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection (he created several unused designs and was not credited on the film), the creature Sil from Species, an unused, radically different Batmobile design for Batman Forever, and created several original xenomorphic murals for Prometheus.

One fascinating unrealized film project is explored in the upcoming documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, which chronicles El Topo director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s never-made adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, and which featured extensive designs by Giger.

The xenomorph from Alien 1024x576 Legendary Alien Artist H.R. Giger Passes Away

The xenomorph from 1979′s ‘Alien.’

Giger worked with pen and ink before discovering the airbrush, which became one of his favorite mediums, creating nightmarish tableaus which often featured fetishistic sexual imagery within cold, machine-like trappings in a style he named “biomechanical.” His work was influenced by his lifelong history of night terrors, and his work reflects imagery found in the work of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. He also named painters Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dalí as major influences and was a personal friend of 1960′s counterculture icon Timothy Leary.

Beyond his paintings – which were frequently featured in Omni magazine - and movie work, Giger also directed several short documentaries, designed furniture, and created album covers for artists such as The Dead Kennedys, Debbie Harry, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Korn, whose front man Jonathan Davis even commissioned a custom-designed microphone stand. Several Giger Bars were built in his native Switzerland, with interiors designed under his personal supervision.

Despite disowning much of the end result from his Hollywood collaborations, Giger’s Alien designs have proven to be immortal, and remain incredibly influential and endlessly effective. For all of the artistry found in Ridley Scott’s original film, Giger’s designs will forever remain iconic.

Everyone here at Screen Rant would like to express our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to Giger’s friends and family, as well as to his fans around the world and anyone who found their imaginations racing into overdrive when confronted with his challenging, surreal, fascinating artwork.


R.I.P. Hans Rudolf Giger: February 5, 1940 – May 12, 2014.

Source: AP

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
TAGS: Obituaries
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  1. Sad to hear that. He was truly a remarkable artist. RIP

  2. Sad news for Sci-fi fans. Auf Wiederzein Herr Giger.

  3. His artwork for Alien still scares the bejesus out of me 35 years later. A real visionary and there will never be another like him.

  4. Alien artwork and Xenomorph design is unique.RIP.

  5. RIP Giger. Thank you for your vision and passion of your artform. And for scaring the sh*t out of me as a kid. SciFi has lost one of its greats.

  6. RIP

    Your work will never be forgotten.

  7. Sad day,and really sad news !
    So we slowly all go that way..one by one !
    Rest in Peace !

  8. It is sad but at least his work will be appreciated for many years to come. If only the producers of Alien 3 had listened to his ideas and accepted his designs. The movie would have been different.

  9. R.I.P. to one of the most influential artists of the modern era.

  10. Very sad news. He was one of my favourite artists. I went through a Giger phase when I was a teenager and his work has always stuck with me. RIP Giger.

  11. Such a sad way of passing away…GREATEST ARTIST EVER!!!


  12. I hope that Scott uses more of his work in ‘Prometheus 2: Paradise’, not only to honor H.R. Giver, but to make the sequel more scary and visceral.

  13. Sad news. One of my most treasured possessions is a copy of Necronomicon signed by him when Alien was first released. His labyrinthine nightmares were simultaneously clinical, sensual, chilling, inspirational, endlessly fascinating and utterly unique.

  14. Terrible way to go out. Rest in peace.

  15. Us crazies will miss him dearly. Such influential work. Rip

  16. One of the most wildly original artist of his generation, not nearly enough credit or exposure.
    I’ve seen many people try to copy his style, but what he did visually, only he could do.
    One of a kind.

    Rest in peace sir.

  17. I watched a show on him once. From the impressions the show gave me, as a person he was as whacko and kinko as a three-dollar bill, but I must say I admired his art and way-out interpretations (think “Alien”, etc.).