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W.C. "Chunky" Huse: 27th February 1940 - 15th August 2020

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Born in Middlesex, England in 1940, Huse, who founded the company Gypsy Grips, came to Wilmington in 1985 to work on “Year of the Dragon” with Dino De Laurentiis, the Italian filmmaker who founded the local film studio that is now EUE/Screen Gems Studios. The 80-year-old legend would talk to anyone who asked over the years about how his love of Wilmington was instantaneous.

“I fell in love with Wilmington the first day I came here, and I always will be in love with it,” Huse said in an editorial he wrote for the StarNews in 2014.

In 1992, he moved to Wilmington permanently and became an American citizen, a journey he often called very personal.

Memories from those who knew him and worked on sets in Wilmington flooded social media Saturday afternoon. The cause of death was not confirmed as of Saturday evening.

Huse started his career in the film industry at age 18.

He would go on to work on 20 films in Wilmington, including “The Crow,” “Super Mario Bros.,” “Bruno,” “Black Knight,” “King Kong Lives” and “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”

Beyond Wilmington, he became one of the most well-known key grips in the world, working on huge productions like “Batman Begins,” “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Total Recall,” “Heat,” “The Return of the Pink Panther,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” and two James Bond films — “Octopussy” and “Moonraker.”

He also worked on more eclectic productions like “Showgirls.”

He was immensely proud of the work the below-the-line crew do on film sets around the world, especially for the close-knit crew in Wilmington.

“You can see it is not all champagne and limos,” Huse wrote. “For us, it is pickup trucks and Budweisers. Who would want to do this job? Me and my mates! We do it because we love it.”

He was also happy to talk about the industry he grew up in often, helping others understand just how much hard work goes into making a film. His father and son both worked as key grips in film as well, an all-encompassing job that Huse described to the StarNews in 2004.

“We basically do everything,” he said. “We safety the lights, diffusions, colors, controlling the light - my rigging grips rig the sets - and then we're in charge of all camera movement, whether it's on a crane, dolly, on a helicopter, or in a train. That all comes under ’grip.’ My guys call themselves bail bondsmen, we get everybody out of trouble.”

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