Hollywood reacts to death of visual effects guru Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen, best known for his stop-motion animation in "Jason and the Argonauts" and "Clash of the Titans," works with a figure of a dinosaur as a camera rolls in 1965.
Ray Harryhausen, best known for his stop-motion animation in “Jason and the Argonauts” and “Clash of the Titans,” works with a figure of a dinosaur as a camera rolls in 1965.
(Hulton Archive / Getty Images)
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Directors, actors and animation fans of all stripes saluted Ray Harryhausen on Tuesday as news of the visual effects pioneer’s death reached Hollywood.

Harryhausen, the stop-motion animator of such classics as 1955’s “It Came From Outer Space,” 1958’s “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” 1963’s “Jason and the Argonauts” and 1981’s “Clash of the Titans,” created Dynamation -- a technique that allowed models to be integrated into live-action films. His work inspired many who are driving the special-effects laden filmmaking that dominates in Hollywood today.

“Anyone in the world of animation, SFX, or fantasy owes everything to Ray Harryhausen,” Andrew Stanton, director of “John Carter,” said on Twitter. “A true legend. RIP Sir.”


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“Iron Man” director Jon Favreau called Harryhausen “a source of inspiration, the master of stop motion, and even a voice actor in Elf. His work still holds up.”

Comedian Patton Oswalt said, “If I believed in God, I’d want him to be like Ray Harryhausen -- nudging us one frame at a time toward the sublime & fantastic.”

Except for “Titans,” Harryhausen, who was 92, worked on all the special effects himself. “I don’t have a crew,” he told The Times in an interview a few years ago. Any given effect, he said, could take months for him to complete -- like the classic skeleton army battle sequence in “Jason and the Argonauts.”

“It took four months to put the skeleton fight scene together and it lasted less than five minutes,” Harryhausen said. “I remember working in my house as an amateur; I got mad at something and I threw the hammer on the floor and it went through a glass painting that had taken me a long time to make. I had to develop patience.”

PHOTOS: Celebrities react to Ray Harryhausen’s death


“Ray Harryhausen’s skeleton army is unmatched in the realm of cinematic menace, mocking the undead legions shambling in their wake,” writer-producer-director Christopher McQuarrie said Tuesday on Twitter.

Additional reactions to Harryhausen’s death follow below:

I loved every single frame of Ray Harryhausen’s work. He was the man who made me believe in monsters. Glad to have met him. A true legend.— edgarwright (@edgarwright) May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen an inspiration and a legend, even before he left us. His influence cannot be measured and has shaped cinema as we know it.— Simon Pegg (@simonpegg) May 7, 2013

Rest In Peace Ray Harryhausen. Thank you for a spectacular childhood of amazing FX #Sinbad #Argonauts— robertliefeld (@robertliefeld) May 7, 2013

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen. Jason & the Argonauts was the first movie I truly loved.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) May 7, 2013

I don’t want to wake up to news like this. I was blessed to know Ray Harryhausen beyond the films. I’ve never known a better soul. Magic— Harry Knowles (@headgeek666) May 7, 2013



Hollywood Star Walk: Ray Harryhausen

From the archives: L.A. Times coverage of Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen, stop-motion and special-effects pioneer, dies