Ray Harryhausen Dies, Special Effects Legend Remembered

Ray Harryhausen, special effects legend and stop-motion animation pioneer, died in London on Tuesday from natural causes.

Although his technique may seem antiquated in the age of computer-generated imagery, Harryhausen’s work certainly left its mark on Hollywood and the film industry as a whole. Many of the filmmakers and actors who were inspired by the FX titan’s work have weighed in on his passing.

Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro told Entertainment Weekly that he felt as though he’d lost a member of his family after learning of Ray Harryhausen’s death.

“He was a true pioneer, a man who took the mantle of stop-motion and elevated it to an art form. Like all great monster makers, he worked almost single-handed. He was designer, technician, sculptor, painter and cinematographer all at once. To my generation, and to every generation of monster lovers to come, he will stand above all,” the director said.

Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp also took a moment to remember the special effects pioneer. He stated that his thoughts were with Harryhausen’s loved ones.

“There isn’t anything I can say about Ray Harryhausen that hasn’t been said throughout his brilliant life, suffice to salute that Ray was a band-apart, and will be forever loved for his unique genius, and rightly so. It was an honor to have spent time with him,” Depp explained.

The FX legend’s work has influenced a number of actors, directors, and special effects artists over the years. George Lucas previously stated that Harryhausen was an “inspiration” to just about everything in the industry. He added that “there would likely have been no Star Wars” without Ray’s contributions to cinema.

Peter Jackson is also a fan of the man’s work. The award-winning filmmaker said that his Lord of the Rings films “would never have been made” had he not been influenced by Harryhausen’s work. “Not by me at least,” he added.

Are you a fan of Ray Harryhausen’s work?

[Image via The National Media Museum]

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