Petro Vlahos, the man behind the blue screen technology which helped to revolutionise the movie industry, has died at the age of 96.

The special effects innovator passed away on Sunday (10Feb13).

Vlahos invented the blue and green screen systems while working on Ben-Hur in 1959 - the technique allowed filmmakers to superimpose actors on a different background.

He also came up with a version of the sodium and colour-difference travelling matte systems, used in a string of films which mixed live action with animation, including Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and The Love Bug.

His special effects inventions were also used by Alfred Hitchcock in The Birds and Warren Beatty for DICk Tracy.

He won Oscars for his special effects achievements in 1964 and 1994, and was also awarded the Medal of Commendation and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award by the Academy in the 1990s.