Legendary VFX And Stop-Motion Pioneer Ray Harryhausen Passes Away Aged 93

Legendary visual effects pioneer and stop-motion model animator Ray Harryhausen has sadly passed away at the age of 92. Hit the jump to read the official statement, including comments from George Lucas, Peter Jackson and Nick Park.

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By Josh Wilding - 5/7/2013

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.

Today The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, a charitable Trust set up by Ray on the 10th April 1986, is devoted to the protection of Ray’s name and body of work as well as archiving, preserving and restoring Ray’s extensive Collection.

Tributes have been heaped upon Harryhausen for his work by his peers in recent 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

"In my mind he will always be the king of stop-motion animation" - Nick Park

"His legacy of course is in good hands because it’s carried in the DNA of so many film fans." -Randy Cook

"You know I’m always saying to the guys that I work with now on computer graphics "do it like Ray Harryhausen" - Phil Tippett

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

"His patience, his endurance have inspired so many of us." - Peter Jackson

"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


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KrazyForKomix - 5/7/2013, 9:50 AM
TRULY a sad day.
Danbojohnj - 5/7/2013, 9:50 AM
RIP legend.
Godzillafart - 5/7/2013, 9:55 AM
Oh Man. Long life. This guy is a God.
CaptainKangarooPimp - 5/7/2013, 9:55 AM
This guy was a childhood idol of mine, I was reading a book about him yesterday... what a sad day.
imnotwearinghockeypants - 5/7/2013, 9:57 AM
The best.
HeadPool420 - 5/7/2013, 9:58 AM
Rest In Peace good sir. Thank you for the memories!!!
TopCat89 - 5/7/2013, 9:59 AM
Guy had skill. Absolutely loved JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS when i was a kid....still do....epic sfx compared to some dodgy cgi nowadays
CaptainPresley - 5/7/2013, 10:03 AM
Thank you Ray.
TheManFromMars - 5/7/2013, 10:03 AM
WOW! I didn't even knew he was still alive, no disrespect intended.

RIP, my good sir.
Godzillafart - 5/7/2013, 10:04 AM
Watching a current effects movie, the list of animators/artists is in the hundreds. In Ray's movies under special effect there was just one name.
jasonicus - 5/7/2013, 10:07 AM
Wow, this is a sad day. One of my all time favorites. RIP.
IIIAdamantiumIII - 5/7/2013, 10:09 AM
:(
Dedpool - 5/7/2013, 10:11 AM
RIP Ray! You are a true LEGEND!!!
Rowsdower - 5/7/2013, 10:11 AM
The Harryhausen legacy will never die.

Barring Jason and the Argonauts, which is a timeless masterpiece of fantasy adventure cinema... his contributions were the only amazing part of rest of the films of the varying quality: mediocre to bad. But his monsters are always guaranteed amazing. And I will continue to watch them just to see his work.

The 2nd & 3rd Sindbad movies are probably second favorite. Followed by 20 Million Miles to Earth.
beane2099 - 5/7/2013, 10:13 AM
His version of Medussa still gives me the heebie jeebies. He will be missed.
SkunkApe1 - 5/7/2013, 10:18 AM
Valley of the Gwangi is a must see ! Love that movie.
ralfinader - 5/7/2013, 10:23 AM
RIP Harry, your special effects were the first to spark my imagination.
SimyJo - 5/7/2013, 10:26 AM
RIP Harry.
AnimatedTdot - 5/7/2013, 10:26 AM
R.i.p. damn that sucks, my condolences go out to his family. Clash of the Titans baby!
Mentok - 5/7/2013, 10:29 AM
A true master of his craft. He will be missed. Thanks for bringing the impossible to life Ray. See you on the other side.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 5/7/2013, 10:30 AM
A pioneer, a legend, and a dedicated, hard-working man. What an inspiration you were/are, Mr. Harryhausen. I love stop-motion, and you, sir, have perfected it. You shall not be forgotten, nor will your masterpieces be forgotten. May you find peace, comfort, and rest whereever you may be. Godspeed to you and god bless, Mr. Harryhausen. My deepest and sincere condolences go out to Mr. Harryhausen and his family and friends.



R.I.P.
GLprime2814 - 5/7/2013, 10:34 AM
My mom got me clash of the titans on beta max when I wasa kid, and I've opened it in all it incarnations since, VHS,DVD,BLUE R.
A true artist and pioneer, not for him we would not have Pixar or any other great SFX greats.
TheAmazingSpidey63 - 5/7/2013, 10:35 AM
@monkeyballs - Your jokes were probably unintentional, I don't know, but still, man, that's just disrespectful. I'm not trying to come out like a dick or anything, but that really wasn't necessary, especially since someone (a pioneer of great VFX, I should say) sadly passed away.
opencurtain - 5/7/2013, 10:36 AM
A genius who made movie fantasies come true for kids a way before the CGI technology could .
DrDoom - 5/7/2013, 10:39 AM
Really? Shit. This guy was [frick]ing amazing. Truly a legend. Sad to see him go.
BackwardGalaxy - 5/7/2013, 10:41 AM
Only Harry could manage to die twice, at two different ages. The guy transcends, man.
Newbus - 5/7/2013, 10:46 AM
Jason and Argonauts was one the first films I could remember watching on the TV. The scene with Talos is unforgetable.
TheClemster - 5/7/2013, 10:56 AM
Truly sad news. We, today, have lost a monument of cinema history.

RIP Ray and thank you for making me dream as a child and until then, I will never forget the first time I saw Clash of the Titans which probably started my love for scifi / fantasy movies.

All my condolences goes out to his family.
WereJoe - 5/7/2013, 11:06 AM
Phenomenal talent, thanks for shaping my imagination. R.I.P.
Ancar - 5/7/2013, 11:08 AM
Be with God, my friend! You did a great job down here!!!
McMeatFace - 5/7/2013, 11:10 AM
I just watched Clash of the Titans yesterday afternoon on IFC and I was thinking how much I enjoyed those movie's effects more so than most of today's CGI shitfests. RIP to Ray Harryhausen, a true pioneer, for help making some fantastic and classic movies.
DioFoRio - 5/7/2013, 11:15 AM
R.I.P. you glorious old timer! You did good work the old fashion way...off to that stop motion cloud in the sky!
subzero1077 - 5/7/2013, 11:25 AM
Amazing SFX artist. Glad I had the pleasure of meeting him 8 years ago. You will be missed!
Pharaoh - 5/7/2013, 11:26 AM
salute the legend...
MrChuff - 5/7/2013, 11:29 AM
Harryhausen brought everything I loved as a kid to life - dinosaurs, myths, legends and general freaky shit. More awesome in one frame of this than in the entire running time of that truly awful remake..... Saw this in the flicks as a kid with Ma.
Got a fvcking rad poster from the lobby on the way out too. :)
Durf - 5/7/2013, 11:29 AM
RIP Ray. You were a legend and you will truly be missed
RaMMaR - 5/7/2013, 11:35 AM
The Sinbad movies are my favorites. R.I.P., Mr. Harryhausen and thank you.
sephiroth211 - 5/7/2013, 11:37 AM
THIS MAN IS A LEGEND!!!

From Sinbad to Jason and the Argonauts...I loved all this man's work!! You shall be greatly missed!!



Dane - 5/7/2013, 11:37 AM
RIP, you god.
GIFfreyGinsberg - 5/7/2013, 11:47 AM
Glad he lived a long life! His Medusa scene was blocked better than the 2010 version. :-P
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