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Ray Harryhausen Biography

Birth Name:
Raymond Frederick Harryhausen
Birth Place:
Los Angeles, California, United States
Special effects artist, director, producer

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


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