On Saturday, January 6, pedal steel guitarist and Emmy-winning visual effects artist “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow died at the age of 72 from Alzheimer’s complications, according to a Reuters report. Kleinow was born in South Bend, Indiana but a California resident at the time of his death.
Kleinow was a founding member of the Flying Burrito Brothers, along with country-rock pioneers (and former Byrds) Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman. The band’s music has been highly influential since their debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin, was released in 1969.
Kleinow also contributed as a session musician to albums by John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, and Fleetwood Mac. He founded a new group called Burrito Deluxe (named after the title of the Burrito Brothers’ second album) in 2000, and his last public performance was in October 2005 at a Parsons tribute festival.
When he was not playing music, Kleinow also made his mark in the TV and film industries as a multi-faceted visual effects artist. His credits include The Empire Strikes Back, The Right Stuff, both Terminator films, Gremlins, “The Outer Limits”, “Land of the Lost”, “Gumby”, and miniseries “The Winds of War”, for which he shared an Emmy.