Producer Charles H. Schneer dies

Hollywood vet worked with Ray Harryhausen

Producer Charles H. Schneer, who worked with Ray Harryhausen on films including “Jason and the Argonauts,” died Jan. 21 in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 88.

Schneer worked briefly at Universal and then started with Sam Katzman’s B-picture unit at Columbia, where he met Harryhausen while prepping giant octopus pic “It Came From Beneath the Sea.”

The film was so low-budget that Harryhausen shot the octopus with just six tentacles instead of eight, figuring viewers would never notice. Schneer and Harryhausen then collaborated on special effects-laden films including box office hit “Earth vs. The Flying Saucers” and “20 Million Miles to Earth.”

On his own, Schneer produced films including “Hellcats of the Navy” with Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Davis, and “Face of a Fugitive.”

Convincing Harryhausen to work in color, Schneer produced their biggest hit of the 1950s, “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.” They continued with Columbia sci fi titles including “The Three Worlds of Gulliver,” “Mysterious Island” and the influential “Jason and the Argonauts,” while Schneer remembered as his favorite title of the collaboration.

Schneer continued as an independent producer in London, shepherding films including “Half a Sixpence” and “The Executioner.”

He reteamed with Harryhausen on “The Valley of Gwangi,” “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad,” “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger” and their final film, the bigger-budget “Clash of the Titans” for MGM.

Born in Norfolk, Va., Schneer graduated Columbia University and made training films while serving in the Signal Corps during WWII.

He was an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was Chairman of the London Events Committee from 1989-1998.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Shirley, two daughters; three grandchildren and four great grandchildren and a sister.

Donations may be made to the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Department of Development, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St. SW, Rochester, MN 55905

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