Obituaries

Creature Effects Legend Ray Harryhausen Has Passed Away at the Age of 93

His inspiration will live on forever

When I think of Ray Harryhausen my mind immediately goes to 1981's Clash of the Titans. I was only four years old when it was released, but the movie lived on for years and still does to this day and I remember watching it over and over again. Today it saddens me to report Harryhausen has passed away at the age of 93.

Harryhausen's work lives and breathes in today's films just as much as it did when he was creating stop-motion creature effects from the late '40s up until Titans in 1981 and his work has inspired legions of filmmakers from Peter Jackson and Tim Burton to Steven Spielberg and Sam Raimi. The way he worked was the true definition of animation and a life embodied by the phrase "where there's a will there's a way."

The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation has issued a statement on their official Facebook page quoting filmmakers inspired by Harryhausen's work on their own careers. Here's a selection:

"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.

"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 practitioners 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

What follows is a four-and-a-half-minute look at all of the monsters Harryhausen brought to life, followed by a list of each film. Enjoy.

The films included are: Mighty Joe Young (1949), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), The Animal World (1956), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Mysterious Island (1961), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), First Men in the Moon (1964), One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Valley of Gwangi (1969), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) and Clash of the Titans (1981).

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  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ryguy815/ Ryguy815

    I've never heard of this guy but this is still very sad.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HelloKitty/ Hello Kitty

    This is truly the end of an era.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    I loved the Sinbad films growing up and Jason and the Argonauts really scared me. Ray was a true legend

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    The films themselves were sometimes (often) not all that great, but the effects work was undeniably ambitious and inspiring for many film makers and fans. Sad news.

  • Stephen Bjork

    A part of me died when I read the news yesterday. I can think of no one who was more influential on me when I was growing up than Ray -- not even any teachers or other mentors. One of my earliest theatrical memories is of seeing The Golden Voyage of Sinbad in the theatres. I devoured any magazines or books that I could find about the man and his films. Not only is he one of the most influential filmmakers who has ever lived, but he was also one of the nicest men in the business, if you ever had the pleasure to meet him.

    The fact that there are people who have never heard of him makes me cry even harder, but hopefully his death will inspire some new retrospectives.