MEMORIAL & TRIBUTES
On Thursday the 12th September 2013, a memorial honouring Ray was held at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London. The church was full of guests and fans from around the world. Link to the Past News & Events page.
On the day the Foundation filmed the entire event and the reception we will be putting up a short film of the memorial on this website, which we hope to achieve early next year. It is also hoped that the longer version will be included on a DVD and Blu-ray sometime in the next year we hope.
In the interim here are some of the kind and heartfelt tributes by people who attended and some from those who were not able to make it.
“I am most saddened by the loss to all of us who knew and loved Ray. At the same time I feel even more inspired because I am remembering all the things Ray taught me. I can’t begin to even think how different and how much poorer my life would have been without his influence. A week ago I went down to Palo Alto because there was a screening of 20 MILLION MILES TO EARTH in the wonderful Stanford Theater. Since I got there early I had time to get over to Stanford University to visit Rodin’s “Burghers of Calais”. There was a young girl with her father there walking between the statues. As she described the meaning of the art his daughter moved gracefully into similar poses. I felt like Rodin was there watching this over my shoulder and smiling. When I got to the theater I was happy to see a good size crowd and a significant number were parents with their children of six or eight years old. Ray was there too that night. His positive influence was felt and alive and will continue like that of all great artists. I’m one of the lucky ones because besides knowing his as a great artist, I also knew him as a most kind and thoughtful man.”
Jim Aupperle (visual effects artist & technician)
“Ray Harryhausen was a legend, a genius, an artist, a filmmaker, a magician, but more than all of that he was an inspiration. He showed us the way. He showed us that a grown man could play with monsters and get away with it. Even get paid to do it. How cool is that?”
Rick Baker (visual effects make-up artist)
“Ray Harryhausen was a great artist and prince of a man. I am proud and grateful to have known him.”
Tom Baker (actor)
“A truly lovely man, whom I was incredibly lucky, not only to work with, but once, allowed to watch him make his creatures move in their infinitesimal way, truly an honour! And, I was so grateful that I got to spend a fun afternoon with him, before he left us. I adored him and shall miss him very much.”
Martine Beswicke (actress)
“I think of Ray more as a magician than a man of immense imagination and a brilliant technician. There we were, we thespians, acting our socks off in the ordinary world while he was holed up in his studio, weaving his spells, hoping we were all doing him justice.”
Honor Blackman (actress)
“Invariably courteous, utterly charming but equally quietly determined to get his own way, which if I recall he did, every time! A great artist and a great gentleman.”
Judi Bowker (actress)
“We’re joined at the hip and we’re joined at the brow and joined in our imagination. I’m so glad that all these years have been filled with friendship and love with my dear Ray.”
Ray Bradbury in 1990 (visionary, lifelong friend and writer)
To millions of fans, Ray Harryhausen will be remembered as an innovative and creative artist and sculptor.
To me, however, he will be remembered as a wonderful godfather, and a loving and life-long friend to my father, Ray Bradbury.
One of my earliest memories of Uncle Ray is of him driving our family to the alligator farm and Jungleland out near Thousand Oaks, California. The drive in itself was an adventure, along twisting, turning canyon roads. Then, the excitement of all the wild animals! A real adventure which I still remember today.
In later years, when he lived in London with his wife, Diana, a visit with Uncle Ray was always part of the itinerary when I or my family was in England.
A walk through Holland Park to Kensington Gardens. The Albert Memorial. Then home to Ray and Diana’s house to watch Laurel and Hardy films in the lounge. These are memories that will stay with me forever.
I know that Uncle Ray and my dad are “up there” somewhere…watching Laurel and Hardy, playing with dinosaurs, reminiscing, and EATING HAMBURGERS!!
Susan Bradbury Nixon
“You felt the hand of an artist in him, and it’s something that has always touched me and I’ve always remembered.”
Tim Burton (director)
“We couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. Ray possessed one of the greatest imaginations of the 20th century. His absolute passion for his work radiated from the screen and made our imaginations run wild.”
Mark Caballero & Seamus Walsh (visual effects artists & animators)
His name was Ray
And all I can say
It's a fitting appellation
For he shone a light on cinema
And gave it a whole new creation.
Living figures that walked and talked
And danced like you and me,
Skeleton outlines or great big beasts
They were there all for all to see.
They weren't real but they were true
That's what creative art can do
When a man has fingers
And a seeing eye
He can make something
That will never die.
With great love from Hylas in 'Jason and the Argomauts'
John Cairney (actor)
“I think all of us who are practitioners in the arts of science fiction and fantasy movies now all feel that we’re standing on the shoulders of a giant. If not for Ray’s contribution to the collective dreamscape, we wouldn’t be who we are.”
James Cameron (director/producer/writer)
“Computer technology has enabled many scores of artists to take a whack at filling the screen with the sort of wonders which Ray once used to create alone. His voice in the wilderness has finally been joined by a chorus of new voices, which will sing new songs down through the generations. For my money, though, it was Ray Harryhausen who taught us all how to sing. His legacy is in good hands, because it’s carried in the DNA of so many fans.”
Randall William Cook (visual effects artist & technician)
“It is difficult to imagine a world without Ray in it. But he leaves us all sich a great legacy. He will never be so far away that people today, and for generations to come, will be thrilled and inspired by the magic of his genius and artistry. We are so grateful to have known him.”
Stephen Czerkas (paleontologist)
“Any kind of stop-motion from my movies is a tribute to Ray Harryhausen.”
Joe Dante (director/producer)
“We each lost a part of ourselves with Ray’s passing. Ray bore into us so uniquely and completely in our youths that whatever we were later to create, reflected his influence. To this day, we hear his voice as we work. I still watch in wonder and awe as Joe, the Cyclops, the skeletons and a host of other iconic images parade before me. That magic feeling of the “first time” never leaves me. That is Ray’s legacy, gift and constant reminder to us.”
Randall Dutra (visual effects artist & technician)
“It’s like God creating Adam. Ray would take clay and he’d give it life and then it breathed. Ray did that. What we do now digitally with computers, Ray Harryhausen did digitally long before but without computers. With only his digits.”
Terry Gilliam (director)
“My brief time with Ray in 1979 was like a dream come true. I had been a fan of Ray’s since I was a boy and I remember that I and a group of guys from my elementary school would discuss Ray Harryhausen special effects often, especially after a showing of either 7th Voyage or Jason on TV during the previous weekend. They were my ‘stop everything’ movies because, if I found that either film was going to be on TV, I would stop everything I was doing and just plop down to watch the magic for a couple of hours. I must have seen 7th Voyage a hundred times! I never dreamed that I would actually get to work with my boyhood hero. It was a great honor to know Ray and a great honor to work with him. His movies have endured as classics because his extraordinary genius. I have a lot of great stories from the making of Clash. I wish I could be there to tell them. Ray was truly ‘one of a kind’… I will miss him. The world will miss him.”
Harry Hamlin (actor)
“We all miss Ray; and his best friend Ray Bradbury, the two Ray’s a most unlikely pair of friends who have both left us almost at the same time. Ray a star in literature and Ray a star in painting and sculpting for the cinema. Ray Harryhausen’s contribution to cinema is immeasurable. He pioneered and perfected a new art form in his time. Working alone in his small studio, he was a tireless worker and did the work that now requires an army of technicians to do the same thing. He was not only an expert in Greek and Far Eastern mythology, which drove his story-telling, but he was also a real gentleman and an Anglophile from his may years of living in England I hope that both Ray, along with his dear friend Ray Bradbury, are still working together behind the pearly gates of Heaven.”
Gordon Hessler (director)
“The Lord of the Rings is my ‘Ray Harryhausen movie’. Without that life-long love of his wondrous images and storytelling it would never have been made – not by me at least. His patience, his endurance have inspired so many of us.”
Peter Jackson (director/producer/writer)
"I first met Ray when I was composing the score for First Men In the Moon. He seemed to welcome my visits to hos solitary studio where he gave birth to his inspired creations, via the tediously slow process of a locked off camera technique he called Super Dynamation. His own warmth of character with a dogged attention to detail gave his creations the emotion and character unique in the genre of fantasy films. My admiration for this aspect of his work was shared by my dear friend and colleague, composer Bernard Herrmann. Once filming was completed, Ray would place his creations around his home, this he said resulted in his young daughter regarding them as her siblings – what a wonderful family in which to grow up. Ray lead the way for others to follow, who unanimously acknowledged his inspired example. Today, in spite of, or maybe as a result of, technical advances, the heart Ray gave his creations is seldom matched. A lovely man - a very clever man.”
Laurie Johnson (composer & producer)
“Ray is truly unique in the history of movies as a special effects technician who is really the auteur of his films. Working with many directors and screenwriters, the stop-motion creatures and vehicles Ray created were not only the stars of those movies, but the main reason for those movies to exist at all. Ray Harryhausen is a true giant of the cinema and I am proud to have called him both my mentor and my friend.”
John Landis (director)
“Ray was an extraordinary fellow. Above all I think of him as an artist in time, space and movement – in animation. But I never cease to be amazed by the sheer scale of his achievement. He virtually created a cinema genre – and then having created it, he sustained it, carried it and developed it almost single-handedly. He was also a perfect gentleman.”
Peter Lord (visual effects artist, animator & director)
“Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in the special effects industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much.”
George Lucas (director/producer)
“Ray was one of the easiest men to get on with. He was so incredibly creative, and yet equally humble and modest. When I first met him, over 40 years ago, I didn’t realize the impact his work would have. Having the opportunity to work with him was a seminal moment in my career, and it was a truly wonderful experience. On set, Ray would take command of the crew and actors when it came to doing a special effects scene. Gordon Hessler, our director, would step aside and Ray would step in because he knew what he wanted and how to achieve it. His vision brought his ‘creatures’, as he liked to call them, to life. He created everything about them; their characters, their look, the way they behaved. One only has to look at the most celebrated directors of today, who have been so inspired by Ray’s work, to appreciate its importance.
In the last 40 years, I came to know Ray really well as a friend, along with his wife Diana and their daughter Vanessa. I remember going to Beauvais in France with Ray and Diana when my daughter Jo-Jo was eighteen months old. Ray was receiving yet another award. At that age Jo-Jo was a prolific talker, a real chatterbox. She and Ray really got on! He had such a great sense of humour. I remember him saying, ‘I bet she can’t say vicissitudes’. Out of nowhere she said it. He laughed, he couldn’t believe it! After that he called her Miss Vicissitudes.
Last year we did our final interview together. Ray sat in his special chair in then living room at Holland Park and we watched The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. He was in sparkling form. A crew filmed as we talked about our memories of making the film. We had a wonderful laugh and a chat together. As a person, Ray was steady, he was always the same. He was a lovely human being to be around, I miss him very much. He was an amazing force of nature in every way. He was as good as it gets, and he didn’t ever give it up. His work will live on always, a testament to an exceptional man with an extraordinary imagination.”
Caroline Munro (actress)
“Thanks to Ray for all he has given me and all the other people in this goofy business of our. He is an inspiration to us all and I don’t know where any of us would be right now without him. Any notion of Ray dying was not on my radar. Not one tiny bit. He was too much of a God to me.”
Dennis Muren (visual effects artist & technician)
“In my mind he will always be the king of stop-motion animation.”
Nick Park (visual effects artist, animator & director)
“Ray was my inspiration to get into visual effects. He will continue to be my inspiration. I would never have guessed when I was a kid watching The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad at my local theater that I would get to meet, and become friends with Ray. All I can say is a Giant has passed on. He was the master.”
Ken Ralston (visual effects artist & technician)
“On location for ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ I vividly remember Ray smiling and encouraging a rather splendid group of actors, on a beautiful totally unspoilt beach, to threaten the blue, blue skies with spears and shouts of defiance and, dare I say, some incomprehension. With the footage which included the bemused actors he would then create Talos, one of his most marvelous creations and make a group of actors part of a legend.”
Gary Raymond (actor)
“I have had the privilege of knowing Ray for nearly 60 years. From the days in the ‘50s when I remember searching for locations in California with my father, Charles Schneer, and Ray to visit the sets of many of their films in Spain and Italy in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Soon after Ray married Diana they moved into a house a few doors away from my parents in Kensington and although I did not live there for long after that I often saw him when I came to visit my parents. More recently, subsequent to my parents departure from London, I visited Ray and Diana and enjoyed chatting to them about the past and Ray was always eager to hear about the films, exhibitions and cultural events which in his later years he was not able to attend.
In addition to his exceptional creative genius he seemed to me to be a modest, soft spoken and sensitive man with a dry humour who was happiest when he was lost in the environment of the fantasy world which he created. This wonderful legacy is now available for generations of enthusiasts to share by watching his films and through the exhibitions arranged by the Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation, which he, with the help of Tony Dalton, had the forethought to set up to preserve his work.
He will be sadly missed by all who knew him, by those who have been inspired by his innovations in the world of animation and by the vast audience of people of all ages who have enjoyed watching his films.”
Lesley Schneer Silver
“Without Harryhausen’s effects work over the last five decades, there never would have been a ‘Star Wars’ or a ‘Jurassic Park’. His films continue to set our imagination on fire. Ray, your inspiration goes with us forever.”
Steven Spielberg (director/producer/writer)
“You know, I’m always saying to the guys that I work with now and on computer graphics – ‘Do it like Ray Harryhausen’.” “Every time that Cyclops emerges from that cave I reconnect with the seven year old that I was – and still am. That’s magic.”
Phil Tippett (visual effects artist & technician)
“Ray Harryhausen's road to Damascus experience happened in a darkened theater and in the presence of a miraculous giant Gorilla. King Kong's legacy flowed through his veins and reached his hearts and, through a singular, amazing filmography, reached generations of artists down the line. The Gospel of monsters lived on. Being a monster man requires a knack- you either have it or you don't- and cannot be learned or feigned. A man that gives life to Gargoyles for a living knows that his craft will always be harder than any other craftmen in the Cathedral. And yet, the love and genuine empathy for the grotesque leaves that artist no choice. Ray Harryhausen was a monster master and he became a point of inflection that changed the landscape of fantastic cinema in a way that already reaches into the century past his own. His passion, dedication and intelligence inspired not only the filmmakers but the medium itself. The birth of the Kaiju genre in Japan- with Godzilla- came out of the love and dedication of men that admired both King Kong and The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. This are facts. And I dedicated my own film, Pacific RIm to Ray Harryhausen and Ishiro Honda to acknowledge this link. His work will always be with us but it is his absence that makes the world poorer and duller and somewhat void of magic. For when a great wizard leaves this earth, a little of his magic goes with him. Every single person gathered here know that. All of us standing on sets or scouts or editing rooms hurrying to meet a deadline with monsters of our own, know that. But the comforting factis that all of us in one way or another were able to say it to him. To make it known. And we honor him the best way monster lovers can: with our work, our creations and the purity of our dark little hearts. May we all, in the company of each other, in the knowledge that we all are joined by our love for him, his craft and his creatures.”