Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Father of modern special effects Ray Harryhausen dies

Legendary Hollywood lighting tricks man Ray Harryhausen died in London’s Hammersmith hospital yesterday. He was 92 years old.

The animator and business pioneer was noted for his innovation of latest animation procedures, as well as a parade of iconic and unforgettable display creations.

Harryhausen’s sculpt work and unique creature models could be seen in these kinds of films as ‘Clash of the Titans’, ‘Jason & The Argonauts’, ‘The Valley of Gwangi’ and his ‘Sinbad’ trilogy, among an excellent many others.

Tributes from various film industry specialists have poured in over the past twenty four hours. 

Oscar-winning ‘Wallace & Gromit’ creator Nick Park called him “my mentor and inspiration since my earliest childhood memories”.

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both shiningly mentioned Harryhausen as an inspiration, while James Cameron, who’s movies consist of Harryhausen-esque creature features like ‘Aliens’ and ‘Terminator’ said science fiction filmmakers has been “standing on the shoulders of a giant” due to Ray’s labor.

Peter Lord, of Aardman Animations, also renowned that Harryhausen was “a one-man business and a one-man genre”.

Himself empowered by ‘King Kong’s special effects creator Willis O’Brien, adolescent Harryhausen began playing with sculpt making and stop-motion work in the 30′s.

After he enlisted in the U.S Army in 1942, Harryhausen worked on models and artwork for U.S Army magazine ‘Yank’ and served under future ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ director Frank Capra to make army-instruction films.

After the war, Harryhausen was able to work alongside his hero Willis O’Brien, on what would be his breakthrough picture ‘Mighty Joe Young’.

In 1953, Harryhausen’s solo effort ‘The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms’ (an adaptation of a quick tale by Ray’s lifetime friend Ray Bradbury) grew to become a box office accomplishment. Next, the 1955 production of ‘It Came From Beneath the Sea’ marked the first collaboration between Harryhausen and Producer Charles H. Schneer, the man who would succeed with him on his most popular movies over the next 3 decades.

Harryhausen worked in the course of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, creating many hugely popular creatures and fantastic, dream like adventure sequences. ‘Clash of the Titans’, announced in 1981, is taken into account by many to become his magnum opus.

In 1992, Harryhausen received a special Oscar for his achievements and gifts to the art of cinema.

In 2002, Harryhausen partnered alongside animators Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh to finish ‘The Tortoise & The Hare’, a fairy tale short that Ray had begun in 1952.

In 2007, he executive-produced a short film based on E.A Poe’s ‘The Pit & The Pendulum’.

In his autobiography, Harryhausen says “Looking back through the years I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in numerous exciting projects, the best of which I presume did mature and grow into full-length feature movies”.

He donated his entire private collection of models, which consisted of around 20,000 meticulously hand crafted models, to the National Media Museum in Bradford in 2010. It’s here, as well as inside the imaginations of these he continues to inspire, that Ray Harryhausen’s heritage will live on.




Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life (Book) by Ray Harryhausen & Tony Dalton




Father of modern special effects Ray Harryhausen dies

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