A Tribute To Ray Harryhausen

Author: Gavin Singleton | May-08-2013 6:33 AM

ScifiedGeneral Movie News & Posts ➙ A Tribute To Ray Harryhausen

Visual effects creator, producer and stop motion animation , or Dynamation, legend Ray Harryhausen passed away Tuesday, aged 92.

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Ray and some of his better remembered creations.

Harryhausen was born in Los Angelese, California, 29th June 1920 of German descent, his surname having originally been spelt "Herrenhausen". In 1960 he moved to London, England and 1963 he married Diana Livingston, and together they have one child, daughter Vanessa.

Truly a living legend in his own lifetime, Harryhausen created well loved and fondly remembered effects, including the world famous sword fight scene in Jason and the Argonauts featuring animated skeleton warriors, which you can watch above.

Most of the movies which Harryhausen worked on, the animated models were tasked to interact with live action photography, and in the early days of visual effects Harryhausen was a true master at making it look both believable and fantastic.

His worked has inspired many within Hollywood, most of which still use Harryhausens techniques for animation, be it for miniature or computer models...

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The Skeleton Warriors born from the Dragons Teeth - Jason and the Argonauts.

Dennis Muren, Eight-time Oscar winner and creative director at Industrial Light & Magic...

"For those of us who admired Ray or knew him personally, it is a sad, sad day, one that we hoped would never come. We lost a remarkable man, a lone wolf, a brilliant artist and a mentor for three generations of filmmakers. He is a big reason we are all here and although he will be missed dearly his work will continue to inspire generations to come."

Joe Letteri, four-time Oscar winner and senior VFX supervisor at Weta Digital...

“Watching Ray Harryhausen's films growing up was a pure joy. He brought legends to life and he became a legend himself. And I am sure that future generations of animators will continue to look to him for inspiration."

Henry Selick, director of Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach...

“Thank you, Ray Harryhausen, for entertaining and inspiring me and so many others. We were mesmerized by the soulful monsters you brought to life and the fantasy worlds you created. Today, it takes an army of CG artists to impress a movie audience in the same way but they'll never match the humanity and soul you put in your work.”

Scott Ross, a co-founder and former CEO of Digital Domain as well as a former general manager of Industrial Light + Magic and senior vp of LucasArts...

“In many ways Ray Harryhausen was the icon of an era where visual effects were done practically, painstakingly and perfectly. Before ones and zeros, before motion control, before $100 million budgets there was Harryhausen. It was because of the likes of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, that the modern age of visual effects was born. In his 92 years, Ray indeed had a ‘golden voyage’.”

Jeff Okun, visual effects supervisor, senior VP of VFX at Prana Studios, and chair of the Visual Effects Society...

“Ray was not only a legend in our industry, but he was a tremendously gracious and giving man. His friendship was lovely, his talent undeniable and his passion and enthusiasm for our art unparalleled. I will miss him.”

Eric Roth, executive director of the Visual Effects Society...

"Every VFX artist owes a debt of gratitude to the master, Ray Harryhausen. His work lives on forever and will guide many generations to come."

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Kali from the Golden Voyage of Sinbad, was beatifully animated and choreograpehed.

Tom Atkin, founder of the Visual Effects Society...

“There will never be another person who has influenced so many in the art of fantasy storytelling. Ray was, is, and always wil be the master. I had the great pleasure to spend quite some time with Ray, and it is with the deepest respect that I tell the following story. Early on when VES was just getting going, we had our first festival of visual effects headlined by Dennis Muren and the new Star Wars feature. When Dennis began speaking, he introduced Ray Harryhausen in the audience. The crowd went absolutely nuts with cheering and a standing ovation. Since I had just met Ray, I asked him if this huge response was due to the fact that this was a visual effects crowd at a VES event, or did this happen everywhere? Without missing a beat—yet with all the grace and humility that was Ray—he answered softly: ‘everywhere.’ ”

Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh, co-founders/co-owners of stop motion company Screen Novelties...

“Ray taught us new levels of respect, professionalism and passion for the art of stop motion animation. We couldn’t have had a better mentor. He possessed one of the greatest imaginations of the 20th century--his sense of drama and the fantastic will never be outdone. Working with him was better than any film school. His absolute passion for his work radiated from the screen and made our imaginations run wild.”

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The towered Talos come to life - Pacific Rim without CGi - Ray Harryhausen would be the only choice

Having read all of these tributes I feel as though I must add my own...

"I remember with great, great fondness watching Ray Harryhausen's movies as a child in awe and in wonder. They were truly magical, and stood head and shoulders above the cheesy and quite frankly pathetic effects seen in more inferior movies. Ray's animations not only had weight, substance, and believability, they had personality, character. Even in recent years I have sat and reatched his movies, and while they reminded me of younger days sat on the floor in front of a TV that only had four channels, the splendour and detail and interactivity of his animation still remains to this day. To me Ray Harryhausen was a legend, and always will be."


Our condolences extend out to his wife Diana, daughter Vanessa, his family and his friends. Ray, you will be sorely missed by your family, friends and your fans, but you will always have a place in our hearts.


Thank you to the Hollywood Reporter for the tributes!

  • Tags: RAY HARRYHAUSEN, TRIBUTE
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