Wednesday, May 8, 2013

R.I.P.: Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen

June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013

The master American stop-motion animator and highly influential film maker Ray Harryhausen was born Raymond Frederick Harryhausen in Los Angeles to Martha L. (née Reske) and Frederick W. Harryhausen, parents of German descent, on June 29, 1920. He died at the age of 92 on May 7th 2013 in London, England, his home since 1960. His death was announced by his daughter Vanessa and his wife Diana Livingstone Bruce, the latter of whom he had married in 1963.
Inspired by the early stop motion films of Willis O'brien — namely, The Lost World (1925 / trailer) and King Kong (1933 / trailer) — Harryhausen already began experimenting with puppets of creatures as a child. As an adult, his sci-fi, fantasy and adventure films — films From Mighty Joe Young (1949) to the original version of Clash of the Titans (1981) — lit the imagination of generations of children and have been far more influential than their oft lowly B-roots would ever have promised. Harryhausen's stop motion creatures and special effects often transcended the low budgets and questionable acting of his movies to create true movie magic, making his productions both unforgettable and eternal favorites to those who have seen them. There are few contemporary filmmakers working in genre filmmaking today that would not admit to the influence and inspiration of Harryhausen's creativity and creatures.
The following career review is made in fond remembrance of the man and his films, the latter of which we here at A Wasted Life are always happy to re-watch when given the chance. Wherever you are, Mr. Harryhausen, we thank you for all that you leave behind: magic, pure and simple.

 Go here for Part II.

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