Gerry Anderson, the man responsible for bringing puppets to life in the Thunderbirds and Joe 90 television shows, passed away on Wednesday. He was 83.
The announcement was made Gerry’s son Jamie Anderson on his official website. He explained that the Space: 1999 mastermind had died peacefully in his sleep. Anderson reportedly suffered from mixed dementia, a condition that had worsened in recent months.
Fanderson, an “official appreciation” website dedicated to the work of Gerry Anderson, issued a touching obituary after learning of the Thunderbirds creator’s passing.
Chairman Nick Williams wrote:
“To those who met him Gerry was a quiet, unassuming but determined man. His desire to make the best films he could drove him and his talented teams to innovate, take risks, and do everything necessary to produce quite inspirational works. Gerry’s legacy is that he inspired so many people and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions of people around the world.”
Using the art of “supermarionation,” Gerry Anderson brought Thunderbirds to life on the small screen back in the mid-60s. The British television program chronicled the adventures of a family that operated a “mechanized emergency first response service.” The series, which ran for two years, was the primary inspiration for Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America.
In addition to Thunderbirds, Gerry and his ex-wife Sylvia Anderson were also responsible for creating such memorable shows as Fireball XL5, Supercar, and Space: 1999 starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.
Brian Blessed, who worked on Space: 1999 with Gerry Anderson, fondly remembered the producer. The actor told BBC News:
“He had a great sense of humor. He wasn’t childish but child-like and he had a tremendous love of the universe and astronomy and scientists. He got their latest theories, which he would expand on. He was always galvanized and full of energy.”
As someone who grew up watching Thunderbirds reruns, I’m saddened by Anderson’s passing. Thankfully, the television producer’s inventive approach to storytelling lives on thanks to DVD, Blu-ray, and digital streaming. Are you a fan of Gerry Anderson’s work?