One of Hollywood’s most celebrated special effects men and lifelong East Sheen resident Kit West passed away two weeks ago at the age of 80, leaving behind an oeuvre studded with some of the most iconic scenes in silver screen history.

Mr West supervised the mechanical special effects on Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1982 and Return of the Jedi in 1984, for which he won an Oscar and a Bafta, respectively.

He will be remembered for the famous ‘rolling boulder’ and ‘face melting’ Indiana Jones scenes, as well as a host of large-scale mechanical feats in the third Star Wars instalment.

Born Christopher John West in Wandsworth on February 6, 1936, Mr West grew up in Palewell Park, in East Sheen, and attended King’s House School in Richmond, before working as a trainee camera assistant and then a cameraman making TV and cinema adverts.

He then spent two years in the army, for which he was stationed in Malaysia and Singapore – and worked with pyrotechnics and explosives.

Upon his return to Britain Mr West moved into physical effects with Bowie Films, from where he went on to work exclusively as a special effects director and supervisor, making 60 films in that position.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Mr West on location filming a Spaghetti Western

In addition to his work in the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises, Mr West worked on 1985’s Young Sherlock Holmes, DragonHeart, Around the World in 80 Days and the Bourne Supremacy.

His daughter Rebecca West, 56, said he lived a ‘chaotic, emotionally-rich’ life – and was ‘loved by all’.

Mrs West said: “He was a great dad, and I was always very proud to be his daughter.

“Any chance I got I would tell people I am Kit West’s daughter – he was always travelling the world working on amazing projects.

“He was a larger-than-life character and he knew how to have good fun, but he was also a gentleman about things.

“He was one of the old school; he knew that whatever happened on location stayed on location.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

The special effects guru spent a large part of his working life in Almeria, in southern Spain, which he considered a second home, and where he worked on many ‘Spaghetti Western’ films.

Mr West’s last film, made when he was 72, was the 2008 science fiction fantasy film City of Ember, starring Bill Murray and Martin Landau.

Mr West, who was cremated at Mortlake Crematorium on Thursday, is survived by his wife of 30 years, Diana, daughter Rebecca and granddaughter Indiana, 25.