A Legend Has Died


Ray Harryhausen was one of the heroes of my youth. His visions of monsters and mythological creatures brought my dreams to life, and there are sequences from Jason and the Argonauts and the Sinbad films that are as vivid in my mind’s eye as memories from life. Computers may make things look better and more realistic, but they’ll never capture the life–the real heartbeat–you see in the handmade work of Harryhausen.

Today, at the age of 92, Harryhausen finally joined his friends Ray Bradbury and Willis O’Brien in that great movie studio in the sky:

Ray Harryhausen, who brought sword-fighting skeletons to the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts and was known as the master of stop-motion animation for his work on that and other films such as Clash of the Titans and The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, has died.

The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation says on its Facebook page that he passed away Tuesday in London. Harryhausen, who was a producer and director as well as a model animator, was 92.

In 2004, Harryhausen told NPR that it was seeing King Kong in 1933 that led him to a life in the movies. “I couldn’t figure out how it was done,” he said of the stop-animation in that film, and he set out to learn.

Here’s a quick trip through the work of one of the great visual artists of the 2oth century. (Turn the sound off: it’s awful.)

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Ray and Ray, together again:

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.


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