Ray Harryhausen, special effects pioneer, dies at 92

Ray Harryhausen poses for photographs 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. Getty

Ray Harryhausen, a master of movie special effects whose work was beloved by fantasy film lovers and influenced industry heavyweights such as "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, has died. He was 92.

Biographer and longtime friend Tony Dalton confirmed that Harryhausen died Tuesday at London's Hammersmith Hospital.

Dalton said it was too soon to tell the exact cause of death, but described Harryhausen's passing as "very gentle and very quiet."

His family released the following statement: "Ray's influence on today's film makers was enormous, with luminaries; Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson, George Lucas, John Landis and the U.K.'s own Nick Park have cited Harryhausen as being the man whose work inspired their own creations."

Harryhausen's films included "The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms," "Valley of the Gwangi," "Mighty Joe Young" and "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad."

Though his name was little-known by the general public, many directors borrowed Harryhausen's special effects techniques.

Lucas once said that no other fantasy films had "the same kind of awe" as Harryhausen's movies.

Harryhausen got interested in stop-motion animation after watching the effects in the 1933 "King Kong" film.

  • CBS News Staff

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