Had director Ridley Scott not come across a copy of H.R. Giger's painting Necronom IV in his collected work Necronomicon, the history of scifi might have been very different. This painting of a creature with a human torso and weird biomechanical features became the inspiration for the creature in Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror film Alien.
In addition to that, Giger was brought in by Scott to work on other aspects of the production design including the derelict spacecraft, the alien eggs, and the masked 'Space Jockey' . Giger went on to receive an Academy Award as part of the visual effects team for the film. Other Hollywood and major film work included an aborted attempt to make Dune with Alejandro Jodorowsky (which you can see more of in the excellent documentary Jodorowsky's Dune), Poltergeist II, Species, and more recently in 2012 Giger contributed mural designs for Scott's Alien prequel Prometheus.
Born in 1940 in Chur, Switzerland, Giger studied architecture and industrial design in Zurich, before beginning a successful career in art and interior design from the mid-1960s onwards.
His death reportedly came about due to a fall on a set of stairs.