RAY HARRYHAUSEN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Ray Harryhausen                                                                   
Birth name: Raymond Frederick Harryhausen                                               
Born: 29 June 1920 Los Angeles, California, USA                                         
Ray Harryhausen (born Raymond Frederick Harryhausen on June 29, 1920 in Los             
Angeles, California) is an Academy Award-winning American film producer and,           
most notably, a special effects creator most famous for his brand of stop-motion       
model animation. Some of his most notable works have included his animation on         
Mighty Joe Young (with pioneer Willis H. O'Brien, which won the Academy Award           
for special effects) (1949), The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (his first color film)       
and Jason and the Argonauts, featuring a famous sword fight against seven               
skeleton warriors.                                                                     
Before the advent of computers for camera motion control and CGI, movies used a         
variety of approaches to achieve animated special effects. One approach was stop-motion 
animation which used realistic miniature models (more accurately called model           
animation), used for the first time in a feature film in "The Lost World", and         
most famously in King Kong (1933).                                                     
The work of pioneer model animator Willis O'Brien in King Kong inspired                 
Harryhausen to work in this unique field, almost single-handedly keeping the           
technique alive for three decades. O'Brien's career floundered for most of his         
life--most of his cherished projects were never realized--but Harryhausen was           
the right person at the right time, and achieved considerable success.                 
Harryhausen prefers not to compare his work with special effects animation in           
live action films to the completely animated films of Tim Burton, Nick Park, Ivo       
Caprino, Ladislav Starevich and many others, which he sees as pure "puppet films",     
and which are more accurately (and traditionally) called "puppet animation".           
Model animated characters interact with, and are a part of, the live-action             
world, with the idea that they will cease to call attention to themselves as "animation",
which is different from the more obviously "cartoony" and stylized approach in         
movies like Chicken Run and The Nightmare Before Christmas, etc.                       
Springing from O'Brien's groundbreaking work, Harryhausen continued bringing           
stop-motion into the realm of live action movies, keeping alive and refining the       
techniques created by O'Brien that he had first developed as early as 1917.             
Harryhausen's last film was Clash of the Titans, produced in the early 1980s.           
Currently he is involved in producing colorized DVD versions of three of his           
classic black and white films (20 Million Miles to Earth, Earth v. The Flying           
Saucers, and It Came From Beneath the Sea) and a film from the producer of the         
original King Kong (She).