Eileen Moran, 60, a visual-effects producer who helped create the look of a bevy of blockbuster movies - from the ethereal world of


down to King Kong's 460 billion strands of wind-rustled specially lighted fur - died Sunday in Wellington, New Zealand.

The cause was cancer, her sister Janet Hamill said.

Ms. Moran worked closely with the director James Cameron on Avatar and with the director Peter Jackson on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, to be released in U.S. theaters this month.

She had set out to be an actress, but that brought her only nonpaying jobs off-off-Broadway. So she became an assistant on a commercial, then moved up to production manager for commercials, eventually finding her way to Hollywood.

She was a leader of the team that won an Oscar for best achievement in visual effects in 2010 for Avatar. She was a coproducer of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three planned films based on the Tolkien book. Illness prevented her from attending the world premiere Nov. 28 in New Zealand.

She helped ride herd on the team of hundreds that did the visual effects for Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Other films include The Adventures of Tintin, Fight Club, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and Jackson's King Kong.

- N.Y. Times News Service