Steven Spielberg, Others Pay Tribute to Ray Harryhausen

The special-effects pioneer influenced generations of filmmakers

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Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Special effects creator Ray Harryhausen poses with an enlarged model of Medusa from his 1981 film 'Clash Of The Titans' at the The Myths And Legends Exhibition at The London Film Museum on June 29, 2010, in London

With the passing of visual-effects master Ray Harryhausen on May 7, 2013, at 92, those who followed in his footsteps have expressed their admiration for the man and his work. Here are a few of those tributes.

(MORE: Ray Harryhausen, Special-Effects Pioneer, Dead at 92)

Director Steven Spielberg, in a statement to TIME:

My early exposure to all the leviathans of the Saturday matinee creature features inspired me, when I grew up, to make Jurassic Park. And the artist magician who breathed life into clay figures and wire armatures and made us, as kids, happily fear for our lives, was the dean of special effects, Ray Harryhausen. All those so called “B movies” were the A movies of my childhood. He inspired generations.

Joe Letteri, visual-effects artist at Weta Digital, in a statement to TIME:

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.

Writer-Director Brad Bird, on Twitter:

Writer-Director J.J. Abrams, to Entertainment Weekly:

He was, obviously, a genius, infinitely ahead of his time. He inspired us all with his skill and imagination, and will be missed.

But not every tribute came from those who have already followed in Harryhausen’s footsteps. Here’s TIME Video’s Harry Swartout on his own relationship with Harryhausen’s work—and what inspired him to make the video below:

On lazy Saturday mornings, Jason and the Argonauts took on the skeleton army, earthlings battled menacing flying saucers, and massive gorillas terrorized the sunset strip, all thanks to Ray Harryhausen, but his influence can be felt beyond dusty VHS tapes. While my parents forbade me from watching Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!, they contently popped in one of the films Burton was paying homage to, Harryhausen’s Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. In fact, Burton planned for the aliens to be made using stop-motion, a technique that Harryhausen mastered, but ended up switching to computer animation due to budgetary concerns. As more and more movies become 3D and CGI, Harryhausen’s methods may become less and less relevant, but his influence remains apparent.

2 comments
ecoarena
ecoarena

So very sad, but I did get to shake your hand Ray and thank you for what you did to inspire all of us and fuel our creativity. That was a special moment for me. I also remember thanking you for never forgetting about 'story'. You were genius crafting genius and so much a part of our lives, entertaining us along the way. We shall miss but never forget you. 

Take care

Phil