Academy Award winner and key grip Richard “Dicky” Deats passed away in his beloved Montana on July 14 at the age of 66.
Dicky was born and raised in Southern California. In 1964 he joined his father as a second generation Local 80 grip.
Dicky’s talent were widely known and respected within the industry. In 1982 he was awarded the Academy Award for Technical Achievement for the design and manufacture of the “Little Big Crane,” the first portable film crane.
The list of directors and cinematographers who worked with Dicky is like a who’s who of the film industry. Cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond and Caleb Deschanel almost exclusively used Dicky as their key grip on some of their biggest films, including Black Dahlia, National Treasure, The Patriot, The Devils Advocate, Maverick, The River, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, Heaven’s Gate and almost 30 others.
Directors who worked with Dicky include Brian De Palma, Clint Eastwood, Roland Emmerich, William Friedkin, Taylor Hackford, Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson, Stephen Spielberg, Jon Turteltaub and Irwin Winkler.
He was preceded in death by his mother, father, first wife Emmy and second wife Jessie.
Dicky is survived by his daughter Danyi and two sons Jerry and Jimmy, his three brothers Jerry, Floyd and Wayne Deats, along with his 10 grandchildren.
A private memorial service will be held on Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 in Burbank, CA.
Donations in Dicky’s name can be made to Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles.