(CNN) — Ray Harryhausen, the stop-motion animation and special-effects master whose work influenced such directors as Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and George Lucas, has died, according to the Facebook page of the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation.
Harryhausen was 92. The page did not offer a cause of death.
Harryhausen’s pioneering work on such movies as “Mighty Joe Young,” “Jason and the Argonauts,” “One Million Years B.C.” and “Clash of the Titans” (1981) was widely praised for its ability to blend stop-motion effects — models filmed one frame at a time — and live action.
In “Jason,” for example, the hero has a battle with a group of skeletons that emerge from the ground and take on the Greek warriors.
Harryhausen called his format “dynamation,” and though it looks somewhat crude by today’s computer-generated standards, it still packs a punch — and other filmmakers remain agog by Harryhausen’s abilities.
The science-fiction and fantasy films of Harryhausen’s career weren’t the star-filled, big-budget productions of today. Indeed, Harryhausen’s creations were often the main attraction for films that lacked the polish of major studio releases.
But the dedicated Harryhausen had a well-earned following, and was quick with praise for his successors. He also never lost his fondness for storytelling, and even in today’s computer-dominated marketplace, maintained high hopes that the art of combining stop-motion with live action would continue.
“Stop-motion is a medium that welcomes fantasy, hence the number of recent productions,” Harryhausen told CNN in 2012. “As yet, though, there seem to be no productions that are utilizing model stop-motion and live actors. But that will, I think, re-emerge. It is only a matter of time.”
I remember to this day, when I was very young, being taken by my parents to a drive-in showing of “Jason and the Argonauts”.
To this day, I still feel the chills that this scene gave me as a young boy:[youtube]http://youtu.be/IXmRuJByoVs[/youtube] [youtube]http://youtu.be/M20PgQl0scE[/youtube]
A true pioneer in the field of special effects entertainment.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.