Stop-motion may be cheesey to those of us who grew up in the post-Star Wars era, but Harryhausen’s work – the most famous of which is perhaps the fighting skeletons of Jason and the Argonauts – was hugely influential. (Though to this 80s’ kid, it’s his Medusa in the original Clash of the Titans who kept me up at night!)
“Ray has been a great inspiration to us all in special visual industry. The art of his earlier films, which most of us grew up on, inspired us so much,” said George Lucas. “Without Ray Harryhausen, there would likely have been no Star Wars.”
Roger Ebert, perhaps the most well-known film critic of the past several decades, has died after a long battle with cancer, his longtime paper the Chicago Sun-Times has announced.
Only days ago, Ebert posted his last blog entry, annoucing “a leave of presence” and further plans for RogerEbert.com. “Thank you for going on this journey with me,” he wrote. “I’ll see you at the movies.”
Ebert reviewed films for 46 years in the Sun-Times and for 31 on TV. After losing part of his jaw in 2006 and being unable to speak, he turned to the internet. His Twitter account, @ebertchicago, was a must-follow for anyone interested in film.
Ebert, along with his colleague Gene Siskel, was the first film critic I ever knew, and perhaps the only one whose reviews I read consistently. Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, which aired Saturday mornings in Detroit, was a regular staple of my childhood.
Original trilogy make-up artist Stuart Freeborn has died at age 98, the BBC reports.
Freeborn worked on many celebrated films, including Stanley Kubrick’s Doctor Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Star Wars fans will know him best as the man who created Chewbacca, Jabba the Hutt and Yoda. He famously based Yoda’s face on Albert Einstein – and himself.
StarWars.com writes more about his Star Wars contributions, as well as comment from George Lucas:
“Stuart was already a makeup legend when he started on Star Wars,” said George Lucas. “He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy. His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His Star Wars creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations, but at their heart, they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films.”
Below the cut, a two-part documentary where Freeborn talks about his work.
Yes, she contributed to science, to the space shuttle program, and to science education. You’ll read about those at the sites above.
However, it’s the stories you will not read as part of the official record that are the most important when it comes to the impact Sally Ride had on the hearts and minds of children growing up in the 80’s through today.
Club Jade’s own Paula tweeted earlier today:
I had the honor of meeting Sally Ride when I was twelve. She encouraged me to pursue science so I could follow her to the stars.
My earliest memory of Sally Ride was seeing her picture on a wall in a classroom, with the simple note of “First American Woman in Space – 1983”. My first report in that class was on her because of that picture and caption and it made me a fan for life. I wanted to go to space camp, I was driven to learn more about science and technology, and I was absolutely empowered to never let anyone tell me “girls can’t do X”. All because of Sally’s example. Thank you Sally Ride, for giving so many of us young girls an example of what we too could achieve.
I’d like to invite you to share how she impacted your life, no matter how small, in the comments below.
There’s been a lot of eyerolling and giggling about the fans who started lining up for Thursday’s Twilight panel on Monday – but it was all (mostly) in good fun. But things took a dark turn today. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that, in a rush to secure her place in line, the woman was crossing Harbor Drive against the light and hit by a SUV.
Bob Anderson, who did Darth Vader’s fighting in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, has died at age 89.
Anderson’s work on the Star Wars films was originally supposed to be a secret, but Mark Hamill outted him in a 1983 interview.
“It was always supposed to be a secret, but I finally told (director) George (Lucas) I didn’t think it was fair any more,” Hamill told Starlog magazine. “Bob worked so bloody hard that he deserves some recognition. It’s ridiculous to preserve the myth that it’s all done by one man.”
The beloved science fiction author – best known for her Dragonriders of Pern novels – has passed away, reports Galleycat.
She passed away at her home in Ireland following a stroke says her publisher. She was 85, and is survived by two sons and a daughter.
McCaffrey published her first novel, Restoree, in 1967. She later became the first woman to win a Hugo for fiction and the first woman to win a Nebula, plus became the first female science fiction author to appear on The New York Times best seller list with The White Dragon in 1978.
The Pern books were some of the first ‘adult’ books that I read, and one of my earlier obsessions. While I drifted away from the series a decade ago, it still remains one of my early favorites. McCaffrey was not without her faults, but her books – with their focus on female protagonists when such things were uncommon in the genre – opened up the world of SF/F to many of us.
The news that Apple co-founder and technology titan Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. The news was hard to miss last night, and while I generally try to stay away from posting ‘real’ news here on Club Jade, I couldn’t let it pass without some mention.
Jobs’ connection to Star Wars is tenous at best – he bought Pixar from George Lucas for $4M in 1986. Lucas said in a statement, “The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision. He leaves behind an incredible family and a legacy that will continue to speak to people for years to come.”
I’ve been using Apple products since 1999, and much of the site you see here was produced on them in one way or another. Whether or not you’re a fan, it’s hard not to admit that the Apple Jobs created and later revived has been a driving force in technology and pop culture. Thanks, Steve.