Ray Harryhausen, whose dazzling and innovative visual effects work on fantasy adventure films like The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958) and Jason and the Argonauts (1963) augured the explosion of effects-driven cinema over the last 30 years, died in London on May 7 at the age of 92, according to his Facebook page.
Born in Los Angeles in 1920, Harryhausen began his love affair with stop-motion animation early after watching the seminal effects movie King Kong (1933). He started making his own stop-motion films in his family’s garage while connecting with a burgeoning science-fiction fan community in L.A., including life-long friend Ray Bradbury, who would become one of the pre-eminent sci-fi authors of the 20th century. Harryhausen, meanwhile, won work under a succession of filmmaking pioneers, including visual effects guru George Pal on Pal’s popular Puppetoons shorts, director Frank Capra on the Army Motion Picture Unit during World War II, and finally Kong animator Willis O’Brien on the 1949 giant gorilla film Mighty Joe Young, which won an Oscar for its special effects. READ FULL STORY »