Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘E.T.’ Animatronic Head Goes for Out of This World Amount at Auction

‘E.T.’ Animatronic Head Goes for Out of This World Amount at Auction

An animatronic E.T. head from Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was auctioned and a fan dropped an astronomical amount on it. The event began on Thursday with a Robots, Wizards, Heroes & Aliens themed evening in Beverly Hills. It was part of a four-day event called Hollywood Legends by Julian’s Auctions.

According to TMZ, the E.T. head crafted by the renowned special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi was acquired by a winning bidder for an astonishing $635,000. In total, 12 bids came through before the winning bid. The head consists of a metal frame and a foam latex outer skin, which could activate vein pulsation in certain close-up shots.

Images of the current condition of the animatronic E.T. head are the stuff of nightmares. However, with some tender love and care, perhaps the loveable alien will go from “ouch” to good as new.

Rambaldi, the talented artist behind the design of the aliens in Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, crafted a total of four heads for the filming of E.T. One served as the primary animatronic, while the others captured various facial expressions.

E.T.’s Animatronic Head was Just Part of an Elaborate Puppet

Of course, a team of actors and puppeteers brought E.T. to life. Two little people actors, Tamara De Treaux and Pat Bilon, along with 12-year-old Matthew DeMeritt, who was born without legs, took turns wearing the E.T. costume. DeMeritt walked on his hands and performed scenes where the E.T. character walked clumsily or stumbled. The actors wore the head above them, with chest slits for visibility.

Released in June 1982, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial captivated audiences under the masterful direction of Spielberg. With a screenplay by Melissa Mathison, this cinematic gem follows the heartwarming tale of young Elliot, who forms a psychic bond with a stranded extraterrestrial known as E.T. Together, Elliot, his loved ones, and loyal friends embark on a mission to help E.T. find his way back home.

The cast included Dee Wallace, child stars Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Robert MacNaughton, and C. Thomas Howell. Of course, the film smashed the box office. By the end of its 1983 theatrical run, the film grossed $359 million in the U.S. and Canada and $619 million worldwide. Re-released in 1985 and 2002, the film earned an additional $60 million and $68 million respectively, for a worldwide total of over $792 million.

The science fiction sensation received nine Oscar nominations at the 55th Academy Awards. However, it only won in categories like Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, and Best Sound Editing. Additionally, in 1994, E.T. film was added to the United States National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.