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Master Of Monster Motion, Ray Harryhausen, Passes Away At 92

An inspiration to millions – creator, storyteller, pioneer, Ray Harryhausen has passed away. 

Raymond Frederick Harryhausen passed away today in London at the age of 92. From the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation page:

The Harryhausen family regret to announce the death of Ray Harryhausen, Visual Effects pioneer and stop-motion model animator. He was a multi-award winner which includes a special Oscar and BAFTA. Ray’s influence on today’s film makers was enormous, with luminaries; Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis and the UK’s own Nick Park have cited Harryhausen as being the man whose work inspired their own creations.

Harryhausen’s fascination with animated models began when he first saw Willis O’Brien’s creations in KING KONG with his boyhood friend, the author Ray Bradbury in 1933, and he made his first foray into filmmaking in 1935 with home-movies that featured his youthful attempts at model animation. Over the period of the next 46 years, he made some of the genres best known movies – MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949), IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955), 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957), MYSTERIUOUS ISLAND (1961), ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. (1966), THER VALLEY OF GWANGI (1969), three films based on the adventures of SINBAD and CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981). He is perhaps best remembered for his extraordinary animation of seven skeletons in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963) which took him three months to film.

Harryhausen’s genius was in being able to bring his models alive. Whether they were prehistoric dinosaurs or mythological creatures, in Ray’s hands they were no longer puppets but became instead characters in their own right, just as important as the actors they played against and in most cases even more so.

Harryhausen’s creations are some of the coolest to ever come out of Hollywood and the outpouring of love for the man himself has already started on social media. What’s your favorite memory of Harryhausen or his creations?

(via The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation)

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  • Craig Oxbrow

    It has to be the skeletons, of course.

    I was lucky enough to meet him, just once, at an Edinburgh
    Film Festival talk and signing, and so I had a chance to thank him for
    all the stories, and to shake the hand that made them.

  • Suzanne Larsen

    Clash of the Titans. The first movie I ever saw twice in theaters. A feat not repeated until last year’s The Avengers. His work inspired my love of movies, movie monsters, and special effects in general. He will be greatly missed.

  • Anonymous

    While Star Wars was perhaps the first sci-fi/fantasy movie I ever watched, the Sinbad series was the one I kept going to in my childhood.
    PS – Talos was much better than the seven skeletons.

  • ErinPatricia

    Clash of the Titans…I obsessed over that movie when I was a kid. I had an oversized paperback book version that I read and re-read and re-re-re-read over and over.

  • Rebecca J. Allard

    Bubo the owl. So much charm in such a little “mechanized” being. RIP Ray, and thank you for making my childhood special.

  • John Wao

    He was the best at what he did and what he did was awesome. R.I.P Ray.

  • mea.glitch

    As a small child, I saw Clash of the Titans, and the scene with the Medusa freaked me out to no end. The sound her rattle made stuck with me to this very day.

    Far more recently, I got to see him at a convention. He was very nice and he brought some of his models with him. I had no idea they were so small and was even further blown away.

  • Vian Lawson

    I’m chagrined to admit my first reaction was “wow – he was still alive?” But now, I’m sad that another giant has left us. In movie, game or book, any animated skeleton is referred to as a Harryhausen in my circle, and long may it remain so. He set the bar for ILM, Weta and VFX and visual artists.