Ray Harryhausen, Special Effects Pioneer, Dies At 92
Ray Harryhausen Introduced a World of Visual Effects Before the Computer
Before the world of CGI entered the film industry, there was one man that revolutionized and defined visual effect. This man was Ray Harryhausen. From his debut films with George Pal to his final film, Ray Harryhausen brought magic and visual strength to motion picture special effects as no other technician has done, before or since.
I’m very sad to announce that Ray Harryhausen died Tuesday in London, where he had lived for decades. His death was confirmed by Kenneth Kleinberg, his longtime legal representative in the United States. Ray’s cause of death is still unknown.
Harryhausen was born in Los Angeles. It is noted that the signature event that led Harryhausen to pursue visual effects was when he saw “King Kong” (1933). Harryhausen was so amazed with the film that he began researching the film’s effects work, ultimately learning all he could about Willis H. O’Brien and stop-motion photography.
Ray Harryhausen’s legacy of stop-motion pictures influenced monumental films such as “Jurassic Park”. His family released the following statement: “Ray’s influence on today’s film makers was enormous, with luminaries; Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis and the U.K.’s own Nick Park have cited Harryhausen as being the man whose work inspired their own creations.” Lucas once said that no other fantasy films had “the same kind of awe” as Harryhausen’s movies.
Ray Harryhausen came to visit my school several times, and although I never got the opportunity to see him personally, his work has influenced and motivated the several hundred visual effects artist that graduate from my school annually. He has implanted the same ambition into hundreds of visual effects artist that “King Kong” implanted in him. May his legacy live on.
Do you have a favorite Ray Harryhausen film, or fact? Share it with us in the comments below.