Fast Facts

  • Interest in stop-motion animation was piqued at 13 when he saw 1933's King Kong.
  • At 17, he made his first short film, The Cave Bear, and cut up his mother's fur coat to use as fur for his ursine creature. His parents were so impressed with the project that they didn't punish him. 
  • Was hired by puppeteer-filmmaker George Pal in 1940 to work on Pal's Puppetoon series.
  • During World War II, served in Frank Capra's unit of the Army Signal Corps.
  • Was best man at sci-fi author Ray Bradbury's 1947 wedding.
  • In 1953, devised the split-screen-filming technique Dynamation, which allowed for combining stop-motion with live-action.
  • To save money on his giant octopus creation for 1955's It Came From Beneath the Sea, he reduced the number of tentacles from eight to six.
  • For 1958's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, British censors deemed the hero's swordfight with a skeleton too frightening for children.
  • Modern animators paid homage to him in 2001's Monsters, Inc. via Harryhausen's nightclub, while 2005's Corpse Bride featured a Harryhausen piano.
  • His memoir, Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life, was published in 2004.


  • 1991, Oscar — Gordon E. Sawyer Award: Winner
  • 2010, BAFTA Film Awards — Special Award (Film): Winner


  • Diana Livingstone Bruce — Wife
  • Martha Harryhausen — Mother
  • Frederick Harryhausen — Father
  • Vanessa Harryhausen — Daughter


  • Attended Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, California, United States; attended University of California, Los Angeles, California, United States