Visual Effects Pioneer Ray Harryhausen Dies at 92
He was an avid photographer and attended Los Angeles City College, where he studied photography and sculpture. He went on to USC, he where studied drama and art direction. After graduation, he worked on George Pal's series of animated Puppetooons films and entered the service during World War II.
After being discharged, Harryhausen began his movie career in 1949 with Mighty Joe Young, where his boyhood hero, O'Brien, was chief technician. In 1953, he was hired by Warner Bros. to be in charge of special effects for Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, where he implemented his split-screen technique to insert dinosaurs and other awesome creatures into the story backgrounds.
He next worked on three science-fiction films at Columbia, including The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and a documentary that was highlighted by his monsters interacting with the stars and buttressed by Bernard Herrmann's tempestuous score.
In 1981, Harryhausen was honored with an exhibition and retrospective covering an entire month by New York's Museum of Modern Art. He was later paid tribute by the American Cinematheque. In 2006, Harryhausen was the subject of a retrospective at the historic Byrd Theater in Richmond, Va.
The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, a charitable trust set up by the visual effects maven in April 1986, is devoted to the protection of Harryhausen’s name and body of work as well as archiving, preserving and restoring his extensive collection. The Harryhausens married in 1963; Diana survives him.
Watch a four-and-a-half minute compilation of every Ray Harryhausen animated creature in feature films, in chronological order, below: