Stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen, whose work is featured in classic adventure films like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and The Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981) died in London on Tuesday, May 7th at the age of 92. The New York Times has an obituary.
Born in Los Angeles in 1920, Harryhausen had an early fascination with animated models in the 1930’s after discovering the stop motion work of Willis O’Brien in King Kong. He went on to work with George Pal on the Puppetoons shorts, the Army Motion Picture Unit during World War II with Frank Capra and O’Brien himself on Mighty Joe Young in 1949.
Using a signature technique of combining rear projection and stop-motion puppetry called Dynamation he brought life to science fiction and fantasy creations in almost thirty films and shorts spanning five decades. The influence of Harryhausen on film luminaries like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and James Cameron is immeasurable and his work continues to inspire animators and VFX artists around the world.