I received word today of the passing of longtime Stargate Special Effects Supervisor Wray Douglas. It’s shocking and sad when someone so young leaves us, but doubly so when it’s someone as gentle and even-keeled as Wray. Despite the occasional onset chaos or the rigorous demands of his job, he was always the calm in the eye of the storm – precise, professional, and infallibly pleasant. I remember finding it ironic that, even though he specialized in pyrotechnic displays and visual spectacle, Wray was actually a very calm, quiet and fairly shy guy. Whenever I’d see him on set, I’d have to engage him in conversation first but, once we started talking about what he had planned for a certain scene or shot, his eyes would positively light up, that big smile of his would appear, and he’d happily chat until he was called away – usually to blow something up. He loved what he did and it showed in his work and his attitude. If you needed something from him, he would deliver in a big, big way, consistently surpassing expectations. He was, without a doubt, the very best at what he did.
One of my favorite Wray stories came via former Stargate Co-Executive Producer Damian Kindler who was on set one day to oversee production on one of his episodes. That particular afternoon called for a fairly intricate series of explosions – again, Wray’s specialty. The director yelled “Action!”, the scene played out, and the SPFX team triggered the charges. The series of explosions were nothing short of astounding and left everyone in attendance absolutely stunned. And, as cast and crew stared, dumbfounded, Damian glanced over and spotted Wray and his long-time partner in onscreen mayhem, SPFX Master Scott Stofer, standing off by themselves, giggling in delight.
And that’s what I’ll always remember most about Wray Douglas: that almost childlike delight and palpable love he had for his craft.
The last time I saw Wray was back in September of 2010. He was as relaxed and happy as ever, looking forward to a new, more relaxed, less explosive charge-laden chapter in his life. And in that day’s blog entry, I’d written:
“Today, we said goodbye to Special Efffects Wiz Wray Douglas who rides off into the sunset after a dozen+ years spent sparking, flaming, dropping, ratcheting, and generally blowing all manner of shit up here on Stargate. You’ll be missed, buddy.”
And he will. Big time.