Stop-Motion Pioneer Ray Harryhausen Is Gone

Stop-Motion Pioneer Ray Harryhausen Is Gone


Tributes pour in after the death of animation genius Harryhausen.

Ray Harryhausen, special effects genius and stop motion animation pioneer, has died. Harryhausen, a multi-award winner, was a creative giant whose fantasy work inspired many other filmmakers, including such luminaries as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Guillermo Del Toro, Peter Jackson and James Cameron. His death, at his London residence, was announced by his family earlier today; he was 92 years old.

Harryhausen, born in Los Angeles in 1920, started experimenting with animation in the 1930s, and kicked off his career working with Willis O'Brien, the man who animated King Kong. Harryhausen became O'Brien's protégé, and went on to create some of fantasy and horror's iconic film moments. Jason and the Argonauts (1963) is probably his best known work; the tremendous fight scene between Greek hero Jason and the relentless skeletal warriors is one of Harryhausen's most memorable sequences. When presenting Harryhausen with a special Academy Award, Tom Hanks called Jason "the greatest film ever made!" But it was one of many; Harryhausen worked on dozens of films from the 1940s on, everything from science fiction monster movies to heroic epics by way of Arabian Nights style action. He was the king of stop motion; without his inspiration, Lucas and Jackson both admit, there probably wouldn't have been a Star Wars, or a Lord of the Rings.

"Harryhausen's genius was in being able to bring his models alive," said Harryhausen's family in a Facebook tribute. "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." Those wanting to see a bit more of Harryhausen's legacy should head over to his official site.


Now that's just upsetting. End of an era, to be honest. RIP.

Well that just makes me want to cry.

Goodbye sir, say hi to Willis and Joe for us.

Looks like the motion stopped for old Ray.

I'll always remember his awesome Medusa.

Clash of the Titans is one of my earliest film-related memories and remains one of my favourite movies. Gonna have to watch it again in honour of this passing legend.

I wish I had a stop motion gif that was appropriate for this situation.

Well that's sad. I love the creepy way that stop-motion monsters move, like the skeletons in Jason or the Terminator in the first Terminator. I appreciate it's not necessarily realistic, but it's creepy as hell.

A genuine legend, and the first behind-the-camera filmmaker I was ever aware of. Long before I took note of writers or directors I'd always know I had something to look forward to when I saw Ray Harryhausen's name in the opening titles.

RIP, Ray. There's a magic to your work that will never die.

Today is a sad day. Even if stop-motion isn't realistic in most cases, it usually falls on the good side of the uncanny valley.

Hopefully nobody decides to "honor" Harryhausen by recreating him as a CG hologram, though...

Requescat in Pace.

Hopefully no one decides to honor him by having a stop motion skeleton jump up out of his grave on youtube.

Jason's battle with the skeleton warriors is still magical.

The man has helped define special effects and creature effects in film. His influence will never fade!

The passing of a titan. Such is life. :(

Sad to hear it. RIP

Makes me genuinely sad... so in honor of him I'm sitting here, watching the original Clash Of The Titans on BluRay with a nice cup of tea.
It was one of my favourite movies growing up, and I still love it. Calibos, Medusa, the Kraken or even that freaky giant Vulture are just timeless inspirations for me...

A genius has passed and the world is less for it.

Well, now I am sad. Excuse me, I'm going to curl up and watch all of my Ray Harryhausen movies.

i'm old enough that me and second youngest brother pre-date the likes of Star Wars and the newer Hollywood special effects regimes that came in to prominence after it.

Ray Harryhausen movies (along with Cecil B. DeMille like "cast of thousands" historical epics) were the saturday afternoon TV matinees we loved to watch when we were lil kids...and we watched them completely enthralled with eyes wide as plates...because they were (in a Rugrats like voice) "Awesome !" to us then...

feeling pretty sad at the news of his passing :(

i loved these movies.

Froggy Slayer:
Now that's just upsetting. End of an era, to be honest. RIP.

I entirely agree an end of era. Ray Harryhausen, despite the technical limitations, made his creations seem real. Thats something that modern cgi lacks

The passing of one of the truly legendary pioneers of special effects. I literally shed a few tears when I read this. RIP Mr. Harryhausen. Thank you for so many wonderful cinematic memories. You will always have a special place in my heart.

I can't remember how to embed a video in my post, so I'll just give the link.

It's a wonderful compilation of Ray's work, although the drumming it's set to can get a little grating after a couple of minutes.

Sad news indeed.
The world is now a little smaller and a little less magical.

Cinema lost a great legend and artistic genius today. He stoked the fires of imagination and influenced countless filmmakers with his creations. Hope that Sony Movie Channel will replay most of his movies plus the documentary about his life and his work. People need to see the wonders Ray Harryhausen brought to life on the silver screen.

Rest in peace, Ray. Hope you and your lifetime friend, Ray Bradbury, meet again on the other side.

Well that's sad. I love the creepy way that stop-motion monsters move, like the skeletons in Jason or the Terminator in the first Terminator. I appreciate it's not necessarily realistic, but it's creepy as hell.

the first Terminator felt right near the end though, it wasn't some Austrian bodybuilder, it was a damned robot skeleton, and the jerky movements made that even more terrifying.

hey, screw you, 6 year old Kalezian was scared piss-less of the thought of robot skeletons.

The guy was a magician, bring ancient mythology to life. RIP Ray; your legacy speaks for itself.

His medusa and skeletons, and that weird dinosaur thing, made me scared shitless as a kid. That was in the 90's. His special effects still had an impact on kids decades after he made them.

I loved his movies. They captured a kid's imagination and gave an adult wonderful nostalgia.

Man, this is sad news. I didn't realize he was still (recently) alive until reading this article, but the world really has lost a legend. Like a few others in this thread, I loved his movies growing up, especially the original Clash of the Titans.

Without this man, modern special effects wouldn't be what they are. He inspired so many great movie makers with his vision. His is a legacy that will last forever. RIP.

The man was an absolute trailblazer, a creative genius who pushed the envelope of the technology of his day and inspired no small number of future greats.

A truly legendary artist with an unforgettable impact. May he rest in peace.


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