Ray Harryhausen

Filmmaker

Born: 29 June 1920
Died: 7 May 2013
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Best known as:

The stop-motion filmmaker who did Jason and the Argonauts

Ray Harryhausen was one of the great pioneers of stop-motion animation in the movies. Harryhausen always said he was inspired by animation in the 1933 movie King Kong, and got his start working on visual effects in another giant ape movie, Mighty Joe Young (1949). Using stop-motion photography (that is, moving small models in tiny increments while taking still shots frame by frame), Harryhausen became one of the leaders of visual effects in fantasy films -- most notably with his fighting skeletons and other wonders for the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts. In 1953 he teamed with friend and writer Ray Bradbury to make The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and he worked his magic for many other films including Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Harryhausen's last film was Clash of the Titans in 1981, but he remained a mentor and inspiration to animators until his death in 2013.

Extra credit:

Ray Harryhausen was awarded a special Oscar in 1992 for his body of work.

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More on Ray Harryhausen from Fact Monster:

  • Ray Harryhausen - Biography of Ray Harryhausen, Stop-motion filmmaker who did Jason and the Argonauts
  • Willis O'Brien - Biography of Willis O'Brien, The animator of the original King Kong
  • Ray Bradbury - Biography of Ray Bradbury, Author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles
  • Selected Biographies: H - Selected biographies of well-known people and fictional characters

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