Gerry Anderson, 'Thunderbirds' Creator, Passes Away

Gerry Anderson, a pioneer in sci-fi TV and puppeteering, has passed away at the age of 83. Anderson created such TV series as "Thunderbirds," "Space: 1999," "Stingray," "UFO," "Space Precinct," and many others.

Anderson perfected what is known as "Supermarionation" -- using wires and electronics to take standard marionettes to the "next level." The Trey Parker and Matt Stone movie "Team America: World Police" is a love-letter to that Anderson-style type of puppetry (though Parker/Stone dubbed their attempt "Supercrappymation."

The most famous Anderson TV series is "Thunderbirds," which debuted in 1965 and firmly launched the producer/writer/puppeteer to the outer orbit of stardom. Next came "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterions" in 1967, "Joe 90" in '68, and the live-action cult favorite "UFO" in 1970.  The 1975 live-action series "Space: 1999" was one of Anderson's most high-profile series, and featured "Mission Impossible" stars Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.

One can place Gerry Anderson amongst an upper-echelon of the great visionaries of science-fiction TV and cinema, along with Ray Harryhausen, Stan Winston, and Gene Roddenberry—he will be missed.

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