Tributes paid to Ray Harryhausen, visual effects 'giant'

Ray Harryhausen Harryhausen received a special Oscar in 1992 for his work with special effects

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A host of directors have paid tribute to visual effects guru Ray Harryhausen following his death at the age of 92.

Britain's Nick Park said he was "one of the true greats", while George Lucas said that without him, "there would likely have been no Star Wars".

"I loved every single frame of Ray Harryhausen's work," said Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. "He was the man who made me believe in monsters."

Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans were among his many films.

Harryhausen made his models by hand and painstakingly shot them frame by frame to create some of the best-known animated sequences in cinema.

He is perhaps best remembered for animating the seven skeletons who come to life in Jason and the Argonauts, a sequence which took him three months to film, and for the Medusa who turned men to stone in Titans.

"I've followed the work of Ray Harryhausen all my life," said Park, Oscar-winning creator of Wallace and Gromit.

"He is one of the true greats, if not the true great of stop motion animation.

"The unique craftsman," Park told the BBC, "has been my mentor and inspiration since my earliest childhood memories."

Fellow Oscar-winner Peter Jackson also paid homage, saying that his Lord of the Rings films would never have been made "without his life-long love of his wondrous images and storytelling".

Steven Spielberg said Harryhausen's inspiration "goes with us forever", while James Cameron said Hollywood's science-fiction film-makers had been "standing on the shoulders of a giant".

Director John Landis described Harryhausen as a "true giant of the cinema" and said his creations were "not only the stars of those movies, but the main reason for those movies to exist at all".

Peter Lord, co-founder of Aardman Animations, described Harryhausen as "a one-man industry and a one-man genre" on Twitter.

He later told the BBC: "What is now done by a team of hundreds... he did this single-handedly for 15 years."

Ray Harryhausen A childhood fascination with dinosaurs spurred him into the world of model making

The movies Harryhausen made - which include The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Valley of the Gwangi and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad - are cherished by devotees of film fantasy.

"I had seen some other fantasy films before, but none of them had the kind of awe that Ray Harryhausen's movies had," said Lucas.

The late science fiction author Ray Bradbury, a longtime friend and admirer, once remarked: "Harryhausen stands alone as a technician, as an artist and as a dreamer.

"He breathed life into mythological creatures he constructed with his own hands."

Harryhausen lived in the UK for several decades with his wife Diana and often appeared at fantasy conventions.

In 1992 he was given a special Oscar to honour his work with special effects.

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