(CBS SF/AP) – Ray Harryhausen, a master of movie special effects whose work was beloved by fantasy film lovers and influenced industry heavyweights such as George Lucas and Peter Jackson, has died. He was 92.
Biographer and longtime friend Tony Dalton confirmed that Harryhausen died Tuesday at London’s Hammersmith Hospital.
Dalton said it was too soon to tell the exact cause of death, but described Harryhausen’s passing as “very gentle and very quiet.”
Harryhausen’s films included “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,” “Valley of the Gwangi,” “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” and the original “Clash of The Titans” in 1981.
In the family’s statement: “Harryhausen’s genius was in being able to bring his models alive. Whether they were prehistoric dinosaurs or mythological creatures, in Ray’s hands they were no longer puppets but became instead characters in their own right, just as important as the actors they played against and in most cases even more so.”
Though his name was little-known by the general public, many directors borrowed Harryhausen’s special effects techniques.
In Pixar’s “Monster’s Inc.” Ray Harryhausen was honored in film as the restaurant Mike Wazowski took his girlfriend Celia Mae to for her birthday.
Many other filmmakers paid tribute to the late movie making pioneer including “Star Wars” creator, George Lucas and Phil Tippett of Berkeley-based Tippett Studios.
“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 no STAR WARS” – George Lucas
“You know I’m always saying to the guys that I work with now on computer graphics “do it like Ray Harryhausen” – Phil Tippett
“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” – Peter Jackson
“What we do now digitally with computers, Ray did digitally long before but without computers. Only with his digits.” – Terry Gilliam
“I think all of us who are practioners 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.” – James Cameron
“Ray, your inspiration goes with us forever.” – Steven Spielberg
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