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The Original E.T. Animatronic Sells for $2.56 Million at Auction

An advanced animatronic robot used in filming E.T. was auctioned off by Julien’s Auctions.

In the iconic movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial directed by Steven Spielberg, the character of the alien E.T. was brought to life on screen using a sophisticated animatronic robot. This animatronic was crafted by Carlo Rambaldi, a special effects expert who won an Oscar for his work, in 1981. It was designed to execute a range of movements and expressions to animate the character of E.T.

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This significant piece of cinematic history was put up for auction at the “Icons and Idols: Hollywood” sale, which was co-hosted by Julien’s Auctions and Turner Classic Movies over the weekend.

Described as an engineering marvel with 85 points of articulation, this unique animatronic figure was created before CGI effects became prevalent in filmmaking. It was crafted, developed, and engineered in 1981 and was lauded by Spielberg himself during the production of E.T. as “the eighth wonder of the movie world.”

Following a fierce bidding war, the animatronic was eventually acquired by an undisclosed buyer for an impressive $2.56 million. This sale stood out as the highest-priced item at the event, overshadowing other items like Charlton Heston’s staff from The Ten Commandments and a wool dress owned by Marilyn Monroe, which sold for $448,000 and $256,000, respectively.

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