Computer pioneer Arnold Spielberg, Steven’s dad, dies at 103 – cleveland.com

Computer pioneer Arnold Spielberg, Steven’s dad, dies at 103 – cleveland.com

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Arnold Spielberg, father of filmmaker Steven Spielberg and an innovating engineer whose work helped make the personal computer possible, has died at 103.

Spielberg died of natural causes while surrounded by his family in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to a statement from his four children.

Spielberg and Charles Propster designed the GE-225 mainframe computer in the late 1950s while working for General Electric. The machine allowed computer scientists at Dartmouth College to develop the programming language BASIC, which would be essential to the rise of personal computers in the 1970s and ’80s.

“Dad explained how his computer was expected to perform, but the language of computer science in those days was like Greek to me,” Steven Spielberg told the General Electric publication GE Reports. “It all seemed very exciting, but it was very much out of my reach.”

Later on he understood.

“When I see a PlayStation, when I look at a cellphone — from the smallest calculator to an iPad — I look at my dad and I say, ‘My dad and a team of geniuses started that,’” Spielberg said in the family statement.

Arnold Spielberg said of his son in a 2016 interview with GE Reports, “I tried to get him interested in engineering, but his heart was in movies. At first I was disappointed, but then I saw how good he was in moviemaking.”

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