Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen 1920 - 2013


"I'm very happy that so many young fans have told me that my films have changed their lives. That's a great compliment. It means I did more than just make entertaining films. I actually touched people's lives -- and, I hope, changed them for the better." - Ray Harryhausen

From the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation Facebook Page:

Raymond Frederick Harryhausen
Born: Los Angeles 29th June 1920
Died: London 7th May 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.

3 comments:

  1. Another sad day. I doubt we could count all the lives he influenced. I thought he would make a great Spectrum Grandmaster. Too late.

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  2. I met Mr Harryhausen when he came to Disney to give a lecture. He brought the Medusa from "Clash of the Titans" and let everyone get a close look at it. Holy crap that was cool! He also had some of his drawings there, which surprised me because I didnt know he was an artist too. He was just over all a really cool guy who liked to share what he did, and seemed really moved that everyone packed the theatre to hear him talk.

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  3. The skeletons in Jason were brilliant of course, but the one that really burned itself into my childhood brain was Talos. The way he slowly and relentlessly went the long way around the island to catch the Argonauts was just haunting to me. I was on Crete last year for the first time, and the whole time I was there I always had one eye on the rocky headlands to east and west, half-expecting Harryhausen's Talos to appear...

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