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Published On: Tue, May 7th, 2013

Famous Stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen dies at age 93

The long resume of Ray Harryhausen includes: MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949), IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1955), 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH (1957), MYSTERIOUS 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). The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation says on its Facebook page that Harryhausen passed away Tuesday in London.

Harryhausen, who was a producer and director as well as a model animator, was 92.

Special effects pioneer influenced filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson and George Lucas. The Oscar and BAFTA award winner was known as the master of stop-motion animation on such films as 1963′s Jason And The Argonauts, for which he’s remembered for his extraordinary animation of seven sword-fighting skeletons.

Jason Argonauts skeleton sword fighting“Each of the model skeletons was about eight to 10 inches high, and six of the seven were made for the sequence. The remaining one was a veteran from The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad, slightly repainted to match the new members of the family. When all the skeletons have manifested themselves to Jason and his men, they are commanded by Acetes to ‘Kill, kill, kill them all,’ and we hear an unearthly scream. What follows is a sequence of which I am very proud. I had three men fighting seven skeletons, and each skeleton had five appendages to move in each separate frame of film. This meant at least 35 animation movements, each synchronised to the actors’ movements. Some days I was producing less than one second of screen time; in the end the whole sequence took a record four and a half months,” Harryhausen wrote in 2003.

The skeleton army at the end of Raimi’s “Army of Darkness” is a direct homage to those “Jason and the Argonauts” baddies, and John Landis even took to having Harryhausen play bit parts in a number of his movies. In Pixar masterwork “Monsters, Inc,” when two of the characters want to go out to a fancy romantic dinner, they choose one restaurant – Harryhausen’s.

Harryhausen’s fascination with animated models began in the early 1930s after watching Willis O’Brien’s creations in King Kong with his childhood friend, the late Ray Bradbury.

He began his lifelong adventure in filmmaking with his own home movies that featured his first attempts at model animation. His genius was in bringing his models to life, becoming characters in their own right.

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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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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