He is one of the few names in the business where I was aware of before they came into the (sad) news:
Ray Harryhausen. ([link]
Even though I was actually born a few decades after he build the base for his genre-changing work I knew his stuff from childhood age on.
Films like "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" or "The Three Worlds of Gulliver" has been part of my..."cineaste education", so to say, as I have been allowed to watch these wonderfully innocent "Action-movies" pretty early already.
And how I loved them!
It was the way he did breath life into his creations which was so appealing to me, it was...how he made even the most strange and exotic creatures to something I could feel with.
And even today, surrounded by all those mind blowing special effects in 3D and what-not, his work is spreading a unique charm which it probably will never lose.
There are not many names I could give as a source of inspiration for my own work (just because I cannot recall them or I never knew them).
Ray Harryhausen definitely is one of them.
Farewell, Mr Harryhausen!
May you enjoy every single frame of your next journey!