Michael C. Gross, who created the iconic “Ghostbusters” logo, died last Monday, November 16. He was 70 years old.
According to the New York Times' obituary, the logo became one of the most famous aspects of the franchise after its prominent use in promotional materials. But that stroke of marketing genius wasn't exactly intentional. At the time, the studio hadn't yet secured the rights to the “Ghostbusters” name. So they went with a visual representation to get the point across: the ghost stuck behind the universal symbol for “no” that appeared on the characters' uniforms and the Ectomobile.
“It was never meant to be the logo for the film or anything beyond simply being put on the side of the car as a prop, or on the uniforms or to hang a sign outside the fire station,” Gross told the Telegraph last July.
The logo has become one of the most recognizable ever, even more than 30 years after the original movie. Earlier this year, the Hook & Ladder 8 firehouse (a.k.a. the firehouse used as the Ghostbusters' base in the films) has used a version of it on their own uniforms and painted it on the sidewalk.
Gross started out as a designer and art director for several magazines, including National Lampoon, then moved on to become a producer, first for “Heavy Metal,” then “Ghosbusters.” He was an executive producer for “Twins,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Ghostbusters II,” and “The Real Ghostbusters” cartoon series, among others. In 1995, he told The Comics Journal earlier this year, he left the movie business to move to Italy and pursue painting. By the time he returned to America, he said, “I was out of the business. Things had changed.” He spent the rest of his life living on the beach, curating for the Oceanside Museum of Art, and painting.
Gross is survived by a son and daughter and three grandchildren.