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Ray Harryhausen Passes Away

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Ray Harryhausen, the visual-effects legend famed for his stop-motion work on such films as Mighty Joe Young, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts, passed away this morning in London. He was 92. The announcement on the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation Facebook page didn’t include a cause of death.

Born in Los Angeles in 1920, Harryhausen became fascinated by animated models in 1933, when he first saw King Kong — and the creations of stop-motion animation pioneer Willis O’Brien with his childhood friend Ray Bradbury. Within two years, Harryhausen was producing his own home movies using model animation. His first professional film work came in 1947 as an assistant animator to O’Brien on Mighty Joe Young, produced by the same team that made King Kong more than a decade earlier.

With the re-release of King Kong in 1952, Hollywood experience a giant-monster revival, leading Warner Bros. to purchase the film rights to Bradbury’s short story “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,” providing Harryhausen with his first solo visual-effects feature. It was a box-office hit.

Harryhausen went on to work on such fantasy and sci-fi classics as It Came From Beneath the Sea, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, 20 Million Miles to Earth and, of course, the aforementioned 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts. Although his work dwindled in the 1970s, Harryhausen returned in a big way with 1981’s Clash of the Titans, his last feature as a visual-effects producer.

His influence on generations of filmmakers cannot be overstated, as directors ranging from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg to Peter Jackson and James Cameron point to him as inspiration.

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Comments

  • Mr. Acer

    Wow, did not see this coming. You will be missed, Ray.

    I actually shook his hand, and consider that to be one of the best moments of my life. It was at a special screening of Jason and the Argonauts at a local theater near me, where Harryhausen was the special guest.

  • movieartman

    he is forever apart of science fiction and Cinema, he rest now with stan winston. may grace and peace be with him to the end of all things

  • rigmutton

    Truly the passing of a titan (yeah, I said it) of genre cinema, and movies in general. Thank you for all that you gave to my childhood.

  • MegaGearMax

    RIP, Harryhausen! You were a master!

  • movieartman

    cant really agree his work dwindled in the 70s, while the skeletons in 68’s jason and the argonauts justifiably get the most credit of his work, i think kali and the hydra in 74’s the golden voyage of sinbad are right up with it, and while 77’s sinbad and the eye of the tiger is one of his lesser films the baboon and trog in it are some of his most emotive and realistic creations.

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    Before there were CGI, before there was Industrial Light & Magic, there was Harryhausen. He showed that there were no limits to the imagination…

  • demoncat_4

    hollywood has lost a true one of a kind master of the special effects before cgi became the norm. sympathy to his friends and family for the loss of a truely legendary guy

  • Jeff

    He was great

  • http://www.facebook.com/dfullam David Fullam

    A grand old man of FX who inspired generations to get into movie making in some way or another. Farewell master.

  • Cheapskate

    He was 92. You really didn’t see this coming?

  • Ray Adamson

    Very sorry to acknowledge that Mr Harryhausen has followed Gerry Anderson into the Great Beyond this year.Thank you Mr Harryhausen.It’s unlikely that Lucas,Spielberg,Jackson,Burton,Raimi and Landis would have made the films they have without his inspiration.First became aware of his death from a message on Mark Gatiss’ twitter account and am especially sorry to note he seems to have passed away in London.

  • Mr B

    Is it me but why has no one re-done all of his original films like Jason & the argonauts etc with modern CGI graphics & special effects, think they could be re-launched again to the next young generation & would do well has a tribute to Ray…… great films & memories when growing up.