In International SciFi, News, Tribute
Ray Harryhausen: The Passing of a Titan
Authors: Loren Portillo, Sean Kotz
Photos courtesy of Loren Portillo
Ray Harryhausen, the pioneering filmmaker and special effects master of such classic films as THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, VALLEY OF GWANGI, and JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS, passed away peacefully Tuesday May 7th in London England from an undisclosed illness. He was 92 years old.
With Ray Harryhausen’s passing came an instantaneous ritual litany of recognizable names testifying to his influence — Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, James Cameron, to name a few. But by the same token, there was practically no real discussion of why he had that impact.
That’s predictable, really. For most people, this is just a news sidebar, including the legions of web-bound entertainment beat writers frantically culling fragmentary and unchecked sources to adopt a posture of authority for his impromptu obituary. Harryhausen is simply not familiar to most of the new breed of writers cluttering online news services and blogosphere. He outlived his career by 30 years, and for the bulk of the obit writers, his death detoured them from their real concerns, like whether Mylie Cyrus is hotter than Lindsey Lohan.
But, the simple fact that Harryhausen’s death resides largely on entertainment pages betrays how poorly his contributions are understood.