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Obit: VFX Master Ray Harryhausen Dies at 92

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood May 7, 2013 at 3:26PM

Stop-motion and VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen passed away in London today at the age of 92, according to an announcement on the official Facebook page of The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation. The multi-award winner best-known for "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad," "Jason and the Argonauts," "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad," and "Clash of the Titans," became a cultural legend and an inspiration to every filmmaker that has worked in animation and live-action VFX movies from the ’70s to the present. Among his accolytes are Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Tim Burton, Phil Tippett, Nick Park, and John Lasseter.
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Ray Harryhausen
Ray Harryhausen

Stop-motion and VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen passed away in London today at the age of 92, according to an announcement on the official Facebook page of The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation. The multi-award winner best-known for "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad," "Jason and the Argonauts," "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad," and "Clash of the Titans," became a cultural legend and an inspiration to every filmmaker that has worked in animation and live-action VFX movies from the ’70s to the present. Among his accolytes are Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson,  James Cameron, Tim Burton, Phil Tippett, Nick Park, and John Lasseter.

Inspired by the ground-breaking stop-motion work of Willis O’Brien on "King Kong," which Harryhausen saw at the Chinese in 1933 with his boyhood friend, Ray Bradbury, the aspiring model maker and animator began his nearly 50-year career on "Mighty Joe Young" with O’Brien in 1949. Later came "It Came From Beneath the Sea" (1955), "20 Million Miles to Earth" (1957), "Mysterious Island" (1961), "One Million Years B.C." (1966), and "The Valley of Gwangi" (1969) along with his above-cited masterpieces.

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This article is related to: VFX, Obit


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.