March 30, 2007

Monster Maker

Legendary FX Artist Ray Harryhausen Receives Pickford Award

By John Zollinger

A scene from Harryhausen's Clash of the Titans.
Ray Harryhausen, creator of the special effects that made mythological monsters come to life on the big screen in films ranging from Jason and the Argonauts  to Clash of the Titans, will receive the Mary Pickford Foundation Award at the USC School of Cinematic Arts 2007 commencement ceremony, Dean Elizabeth M. Daley announced today.
Special effects artist Ray Harryhausen.

The award, which goes to the men and women of USC who have made an indelible impact on the entertainment industry, recognizes the role that the Oscar-winning Harryhausen

played in defining and developing special effects during a career spanning more than 40 years. Harryhausen studied cinematography and art direction at USC in the 1930s.

“Ray Harryhausen’s artistry has practically made his name synonymous with special effects,” Daley said. “From pre-historic sea monsters to sword-wielding skeletons, Ray has thrilled audiences and spurred both creative and technological innovation.”

Harryhausen’s stop-motion work is intensely detailed, often shot at no more than 13 frames per day (a half-second of elapsed film time), meaning sequences could take as long as two months to complete.

Harryhausen will address the May 11 event at USC’s Galen Center via video presentation. He is the 13th recipient of the Pickford award, which is conferred in association with the Mary Pickford Foundation. Past recipients include: William Fraker, Conrad L. Hall, Alan Ladd, Jr., Michelle Manning, Walter Murch, Jay Roach, Gary Rydstrom, Stacey Sher, John Singleton, David L. Wolper, Laura Ziskin and Robert Zemeckis.