Harryhausen was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Martha L. (née Reske) and Frederick W. Harryhausen. Of German descent, the family surname was originally spelled "Herrenhausen"
Harryhausen had married Diana Livingstone Bruce in 1963, and they remained together until he died; the couple had a daughter, Vanessa. The family announced his death via Twitter and Facebook on May 7, 2013.
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