Those of us in the world of Special Effects are mourning the loss of one of our founding fathers and heroes, Mr. Ray Harryhausen. Ray was one of the great pioneers of Special Effects and through the use of stop motion brought adventure films to a new level. From classics like Jason and the Argonauts to cult films like Army of Darkness, Harryhausen is a well known name for many.
An influence on everyone from James Cameron, and Peter Jackson to Tim Burton and virtually every WDI Imagineer, Harryhousen set the bar high for visual and special effects and continued to do so.
As a Special Effects engineer, I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Harryhausen (“Please, call me Ray.”)and count him among my mentors while sitting in on a class I was in years ago.
After an amazing career which started in the 1940’s and continued well after most of us would grow tired and retire, Mr. Harryhausen has passed away following a week of treatment in London’s Hammersmith Hospital. He is survived by his wife Diana.
Quotes from those he influenced are almost too many to count; a few well known names do stand out though:
George Lucas: Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much. Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been noStar Wars.
James Cameron: I think all of us who are practitioners in the arts of science fiction and fantasy movies now all feel that we’re standing on the shoulders of a giant. If not for Ray’s contribution to the collective dreamscape, we wouldn’t be who we are.
Peter Jackson: The Lord of the Rings is my ‘Ray Harryhausen movie.’ Without his life-long love of his wondrous images and storytelling it would never have been made — not by me at least.
Steven Spielberg: Ray, your inspiration goes with us forever.
we would not have the level of theming we have today. Men like Ray have influenced virtually everyone who creates the magic we enjoy, from tv and film to the most technically advanced dark ride and roller coasters today. We owe our love and passion to men like Ray Harryhausen.