Alex Funke was born in Santa Barbara, California, on October 12, 1944. A special effects photographer by trade, he worked with Charles and Ray Eames from 1970 to 1976. His first Oscar was for the film Total Recall. Funke became noted as an expert on miniatures involved in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films. At the 76th Academy Awards, he shared an Oscar for his work on Return of the King, the third film of the series.