Special effects legend Ray Harryhausen dies

Farewell to a Titan

by Jennie Kermode

Ray Harryhausen has died, aged 92 <em>Photo: Max Crawford
Ray Harryhausen has died, aged 92 Photo: Max Crawford

Ray Harryhausen, known for the magnificent stop motion creations that featured in the likes of Jason And The Argonauts and Mysterious Island, died today at the age of 92. The inspiration for directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, he was also a much-loved contributor at countless fan events where he toured to talk about his work.

The inventor of 'dynamation', Harryhausen brought to life countless creatures from Greek myth, along with B-movie monsters that had personality as well as the ability to terrify filmgoers. His special effects featured in 15 films and he produced several more. He also authored several books focused on his art and methods. New interest was recently drawn to his work by the release of a remake of one of his classic films, Clash Of The Titans, and he was the focus of a documentary, Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan.

"Willis H. O'Brien started the snowball," he said, referring to the man whose contribution to King Kong inspired his career, "then I picked it up, then ILM picked it up and now the computer generation is picking it up. Where it will end, I don't know. Maybe in holography, although I'm not sure I'd like a grotesque monster appearing in 3-D in my living room."

Two years ago, Harryhausen received a special BAFTA, presented by longstanding fan Peter Jackson, for his lifetime contribution to the film industry. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is survived by his wfe, Diana Livingstone Bruce.

You can read what Ray Harryhausen had to say about his life's work in this Q&A from 2008.

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