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Ray Harryhausen, Special Effects Pioneer, Dead at 92

Martin McNeil/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- The special effects pioneer who brought life to some of the big screen's classic creatures has died.  Ray Harryhausen passed away in London on Tuesday at age 92.  His death was announced on the Facebook page for the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation.

Harryhausen was a master of stop-motion animation, the technique of moving scale models in increments and shooting one frame of film per movement.  When the film is run at full speed, the models appear to move as if alive. 

Inspired to learn the craft when he saw the original 1933 King Kong as a boy, Harryhausen went on to work on such adventure classics as Mighty Joe Young, It Came from Beneath the Sea, One Million Years B.C., Jason and the Argonauts, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and 1981's Clash of the Titans.  He also invented a process for more easily and realistically combining stop-motion animation with live action on-screen, which was dubbed Dynamation.

Harryhausen inspired a generation of filmmakers, including George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. 

In 1991, the Motion Picture Academy awarded Harryhausen the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for his technological contributions to filmmaking.

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