Tim McGovern, who won visual effects Oscar for ‘Total Recall,’ dead at 68

Tim McGovern

Tim McGovern, a visual effects artist who won an Academy Award for his work in the 1990 film “Total Recall,” died Saturday. He was 68.

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McGovern’s wife, Reena NeGandhi, announced his death in a Facebook post, adding that he died in his sleep. She added that Saturday was “the saddest day of my life.”

“I have no idea how I will live without him. He took such good care of me and he was my world,” NeGandhi wrote. “May his soul rest in peace.”

McGovern was the computer-generated imagery director on “Total Recall,” which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Variety reported. McGovern’s work on the film included characters passing through an X-ray-like security check that revealed their skeletons, according to the entertainment news website.

He shared a special achievement Oscar for visual effects with Eric Brevig, Rob Bottin and Alex Funke.

The Visual Effects Society recently gave McGovern the 2023 Founders Award in October for his contributions to the art, science, or business of visual effects, Deadline reported.

McGovern was a VES board member for nearly two decades, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He served as vice-chair and was a founding co-chair of the organization’s awards committee.

“We were saddened and shocked by the sudden news of Tim’s untimely passing,” Kim Davidson, VES board chairperson, said in a statement. “Tim and I have been VES members and colleagues for many years and his passion and loyalty to the Society were exemplary. Tim’s insights, expertise and volunteer leadership have been key to our global expansion and he will be terribly missed by us all. Our thoughts are with Tim’s friends and family and all who knew him.”

McGovern’s film credits began with “Tron” in 1982, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

He later became a founding member of Sony Pictures ImageWorks. McGovern worked on “Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation” (2015), “Dunkirk” (2017), “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018), “Men in Black: International” (2019) and “Jungle Cruise” (2021).

Other credits include “Last Action Hero,” “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” “Look Who’s Talking Now,” “As Good as It Gets” and “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.”

According to his verified biography on, McGovern was born on June 24, 1955, in Chicago. He attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, and majored in photography and graphic design. He earned a doctorate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2001.

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