Stop-motion animations/special effects legend Ray Harryhausen died Tuesday at London’s Hammersmith Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for about a week. He was 92.
According to the Associated Press, Harryhausen made 17 movies that are cherished by devotees of film fantasy.
George Lucas, who borrowed some of Harryhausen’s techniques for his “Star Wars” films, told the AP: “I had seen some other fantasy films before, but none of them had the kind of awe that Ray Harryhausen’s movies had.”
Among Harryhausen’s best-known movies are 1981′s “Clash of the Titans,” 1963′s “Jason and the Argonauts,” 1973′s “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad,” and 1956′s “Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.”
Harryhausen’s method was as old as the motion picture itself: stop motion. He sculpted characters from 7.5 cm to 38 cm (3 inches to 15 inches) tall and photographed them one frame at a time in continuous poses, thus creating the illusion of motion. In today’s movies, such effects are achieved digitally.
Harryhausen admired the three-dimensional quality of modern digital effects, but he still preferred the old-fashioned way of creating fantasy.
“I don’t think you want to make it quite real. Stop motion, to me, gives that added value of a dream world,” he said, according to the AP.
To read more of his AP obituary, click here, and check out these highlights from his lengthy, innovative career: