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Gerry Anderson, known for creating the British puppet adventure TV show Thunderbirds, died Wednesday. He was 83.
Anderson’s son Jamie made the announcement on his personal blog, where he wrote the TV creator “died peacefully in his sleep at midday.” Anderson had battled dementia the previous two years, a condition that had worsened during the past six months.
His crowning achievement, Thunderbirds originally aired in the U.K. for two seasons from 1965-66 and was produced by Anderson’s AP Films. It centered on a family of adventurers, the Tracys, as they respond to disasters via their International Rescue service.
“Thunderbirds are go!” were among the show’s catchphrases. Jamie Anderson thanked his father’s fans for their support and the “happy childhood memories” they shared of his father’s work.
“I know Dad would have been blown away by the support, positivity, and kind words,” the younger Anderson wrote. “I think the saddest thing would have been if he had passed without being noticed, but the response has been the total opposite.”
After finding work in the film industry scarce, Anderson received his break in 1957 when he was asked to create the puppet show The Adventures of Twizzle. He also co-created, wrote for and executive produced the mid-’70s series Space: 1999. Other credits include Stingray and Joe 90.
A number of notables paid tribute to the TV creator and his unique style of “supermarionation,” many noting the effect his work had on their childhoods.
Salute the late Gerry Anderson with the fantastic “Space 1999: Theme” by Barry Grayt.thisismyjam.com/edgarwright/_4…
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) December 26, 2012
Gerry Anderson made my childhood better. (My favorite Thunderbird was 4, Gordon’s, because I could legitimately play with it in the bath.)
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) December 26, 2012
Sad news – Gerry Anderson dies. But what great creation Thunderbirds was, as it fueled the imagination of a generation bbc.in/WGJwK6
— Eddie Izzard (@eddieizzard) December 26, 2012
British comic book writer and novelist Warren Ellis:
If you grew up weird in Britain between the 60s and the 80s, Gerry Anderson was at least partly why.Intro to UFO: bit.ly/12PKJ5e
— Warren Ellis (@warrenellis) December 26, 2012
Physicist Brian Cox:
Sad to hear of death of Gerry Anderson. Thunderbirds still regular viewing in our house, and I remember Space 1999 with particular fondness
— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) December 26, 2012
Comic book writer Gail Simone:
Gerry Anderson died, too?SAD!
— GailSimone (@GailSimone) December 26, 2012
BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans:
Gerry Anderson has passed away. The man was a visionary like few others. Belated and surely to be celebrated. … m.tmi.me/DUPBN
— Chris Evans (@achrisevans) December 26, 2012
Astronomer and science blogger Phil Plate:
Damn. HUGE influence on me. “@wossy: Sad news. Gerry Anderson RIP. For men of my age his work made childhood an incredible place to be.”
— Phil Plait (@BadAstronomer) December 26, 2012
Anderson’s son asked for donations in his father’s memory be made to the the Alzheimer’s Society.
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