Arnold Spielberg, father to Steven, Sue, Anne and Nancy Spielberg, passed away yesterday at the age of 103 due to natural causes. In a statement, Steven Spielberg commemorated his father, a pioneering inventor and engineer at General Electric, writing, “You are our hearth. You are our home.” He added, “When I see a PlayStation, when I look at a cell phone—from the smallest calculator to an iPad—I look at my dad and I say, ‘My dad and a team of geniuses started that,’” as per Variety.
He steadfastly supported his son’s filmmaking career, and even assisted 17-year-old Spielberg with special effects on the production of Firelight, a precursor of sorts to his seminal Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In a joint statement, the four Spielberg children honored their dad, writing that he “taught them to ‘love to research,’ to ‘expand their mind,’ to ‘keep their feet on the ground but reach for the stars’ and perhaps most fatefully to ‘look up,” according to THR. Arnold Spielberg lived a life marked by curiosity and an appreciation for science and technology–and he passed that along to his kids, which especially shows through in Steven Spielberg’s rich oeuvre.
He was born on Feb. 6, 1917 in Cincinnati, OH. At 6 years old, he made inventions in his family’s attic, including a shock machine, and received a ham radio a few years later which proved to be very consequential to his life. According to Sue Spielberg, her father, “made friends over the radio. He heard from people he never knew existed. He connected with strangers and this affability is something he carried over into real life.” In 1941, he enlisted in the Army as a radio and communications operator with the 490th Bomb Squadron, a.k.a, “The Burma Bridge Busters,” eventually earning a Bronze Star and inspiring Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.
After more than a century of contributions and commitment to his family, friends, and career, Arnold Meyer Spielberg, father of Steven, Anne, Sue and Nancy Spielberg, passed away of natural causes on August 25, 2020. Our deepest condolences to the Spielberg family. pic.twitter.com/wzByk5NJSR
— Amblin (@amblin) August 26, 2020
Spielberg graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1949 with a degree in Electrical Engineering, and went on to work for General Electric where he helped make the GE-200 mainframe, as per Variety. He was recognized in 2012 by the Shoah Foundation at USC for organizing thousands of archival materials of Holocaust testimonials. The family will celebrate Arnold Spielberg’s life and unveil his headstone in the Jewish tradition sometime in the fall of 2021, due to the pandemic. The family is asking for any donations to be made to the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America or to the National World War II Museum, as per THR.