Hollywood Pays Tribute To Ray Harryhausen

Tributes pour in from Oscar-winners at ILM, Weta Digital and more; says Pixar and Disney director Andrew Stanton, “Anyone in the world of animation, SFX or fantasy owes everything to Ray Harryhausen."
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The passing of visual effects and animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died today at 92, has occasioned an outpouring of tributes from filmmakers who admire his iconic work in movies such as Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Here's what they tell The Hollywood Reporter:

"For those of us who admired Ray or knew him personally, it is a sad, sad day, one that we hoped would never come. We lost a remarkable man, a lone wolf, a brilliant artist and a mentor for three generations of filmmakers. He is a big reason we are all here and although he will be missed dearly his work will continue to inspire generations to come."  -- Dennis Muren, Eight-time Oscar winner and creative director at Industrial Light & Magic

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“Watching Ray Harryhausen's films growing up was a pure joy. He brought legends to life and he became a legend himself. And I am sure that future generations of animators will continue to look to him for inspiration." -- Joe Letteri, four-time Oscar winner and senior VFX supervisor at Weta Digital

“Thank you, Ray Harryhausen, for entertaining and inspiring me and so many others. We were mesmerized by the soulful monsters you brought to life and the fantasy worlds you created. Today, it takes an army of CG artists to impress a movie audience in the same way but they'll never match the humanity and soul you put in your work.” --Henry Selick, director of Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach

“In many ways Ray Harryhausen was the icon of an era where visual effects were done practically, painstakingly and perfectly.  Before ones and zeros, before motion control, before $100 million budgets there was Harryhausen. It was because of the likes of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, that the modern age of visual effects was born.  In his 92 years, Ray indeed had a ‘golden voyage’.” -- Scott Ross, a co-founder and former CEO of Digital Domain as well as a former general manager of Industrial Light + Magic and senior vp of LucasArts.

“Ray was not only a legend in our industry, but he was a tremendously gracious and giving man. His friendship was lovely, his talent undeniable and his passion and enthusiasm for our art unparalleled. I will miss him.” -- Jeff Okun, visual effects supervisor, senior VP of VFX at Prana Studios, and chair of the Visual Effects Society

"Every VFX artist owes a debt of gratitude to the master, Ray Harryhausen. His work lives on forever and will guide many generations to come." -- Eric Roth, executive director of the Visual Effects Society

“There will never be another person who has influenced so many in the art of fantasy storytelling. Ray was, is, and always wil be the master. I had the great pleasure to spend quite some time with Ray, and it is with the deepest respect that I tell the following story. Early on when VES was just getting going, we had our first festival of visual effects headlined by Dennis Muren and the new Star Wars feature. When Dennis began speaking, he introduced Ray Harryhausen in the audience. The crowd went absolutely nuts with cheering and a standing ovation. Since I had just met Ray, I asked him if this huge response was due to the fact that this was a visual effects crowd at a VES event, or did this happen everywhere? Without missing a beat—yet with all the grace and humility that was Ray—he answered softly: ‘everywhere.’ ”--Tom Atkin, founder of the  Visual Effects Society

“Ray taught us new levels of respect, professionalism and passion for the art of stop motion animation. We couldn’t have had a better mentor. He possessed one of the greatest imaginations of the 20th century--his sense of drama and the fantastic will never be outdone. Working with him was better than any film school. His absolute passion for his work radiated from the screen and made our imaginations run wild.”--Mark Caballero and Seamus Walsh, co-founders/co-owners of stop motion company Screen Novelties.


We'll be updating this story with tributes throughout the day. Please share your memories of Ray Harryhausen and his influential work with Behind the Screen. Contact Carolyn Giardina at cgiardina@me.com, or write below in our comments section. 

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