OBITUARIES

Special Effects Legend Ray Harryhausen Has Passed Away at Age 92

by
May 7, 2013
Source: Harryhausen Family

Ray Harryhausen

Legendary filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson and George Lucas are household names, but they might have never become the filmmaker's they are today without Ray Harryhausen. The special effects legend was responsible for groundbreaking, mind-blowing effects from films of decades past like Mighty Joe Young, Jason and the Argonauts and the original Clash of the Titans, and the aforementioned directors have all sited Harryhausen as one of their major influences in cinema. Sadly, Harryhausen's family issued a statement announcing the effects genius has died at age 92.

Here's a video compilation of Ray Harryhausen's creations from the big screen:

The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation issued a statement on their Facebook page (via BloodyDisgusting) with the sad news. Harryhausen's work was inspired by another classic effects mastermind: Willis O'Brien. His work in the original 1933 King Kong inspired Harryhausen's fascination and obsession with animated models. Funnily enough, he saw that film with author Ray Bradbury, his boyhood friend. Films like It Came from Beneath the Sea, 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Mysterious Island, One Million Years B.C. and more all saw his spectacular work on the big screen.

The statement from Harryhausen's family sites these words of praise over the years:

“Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much.” “Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no 'Star Wars.'” - George Lucas

“'The Lord of the Rings' is my ‘Ray Harryhausen movie’. Without his life-long love of his wondrous images and storytelling it would never have been made – not by me at least.”
- Peter Jackson

“What we do now digitally with computers, Ray did digitally long before but without computers. Only with his digits.” - Terry Gilliam

"Ray, your inspiration goes with us forever." - Steven Spielberg

"I think all of us who are practioners in the arts of science fiction and fantasy movies now all feel that we’re standing on the shoulders of a giant.
If not for Ray’s contribution to the collective dreamscape, we wouldn’t be who we are."
- James Cameron

Harryhausen's work is a huge part of cinematic history, and as you can see, without his effects talents, many filmmakers might never have continued to push the limits of reality and try to bring unseen worlds and creatures to the big screen. Without the inspiration of people like Ray Harryhausen, films may have stayed grounded in a real world without monsters, science-fiction and unbelievable worlds far, far away. The work of Ray Harryhausen will live on for years to come both in the films he touched with his work, and in the generations of talents inspired to use their imagination in filmmaking. Rest in peace.

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  • DAVIDPD
    Oh. This is sad. He was a legend.
  • son_et_lumiere
    it's an overused term, but this was a man who deserved to be referred to as 'legend'. a 100% trailblazer, i think the fact that many of the films on which he worked are known as Harryhausen pictures rather than by the name of their directors says it all. the quotes above alone underline how seminal he was. my own obsession with cinema probably started when the statue of Tanos came to life in Clash of the Titans (1981). an irreplaceable loss, RIP, sir.
    • mistermysteryguest
      You mean the statue of Talos from 1963's Jason and the Argonauts?
      • son_et_lumiere
        d'oh! yep, my bad. still had a really powerful effect, though. the slow, stiff movements, the creaking noise - Harryhausen captured it perfectly.
        • mistermysteryguest
          It's easy to mix up scenes from those two movies :)
  • Truth
    I really wish they didn't quote these directors who have contributed nothing of late in Hollywood, but bad films.
  • David Banner
    Harry had a long life and changed a corner of Hollywood. You will be missed Harry, thanks for the nightmares as a child ;)
  • Alan Cook
    It was a wonderful experience to meet Ray Harryhausen at a big puppetry festival at Cal State Los Angeles, where I prepared a large puppet exhibit which Ray Harryhausen visited, thanks to Festival Director Greg Williams. The creativity of Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion puppetry is widely admired in the puppetry community. We are fortunate to have his books about his career, and great memories of his movies.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7YGEVuJ4mM Carpola
    Creator of magic. It's a shame he's gone. Rest up some fella.
  • http://twitter.com/Toonfed TOONFED
    Oh the subsidiary in Monstropoils must be closed then
  • grimjob
    He had a hell of run, and left as big an impression on this world as anyone could,
  • avconsumer2
    Ugh - lame. Eh - long productive life. He loved his work too, it showed. Wore out that Clash betamax tape till it was nearly unwatchable. Loved his work. Rest easy my friend.

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