×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Thunderbirds’ creator Gerry Anderson dies

Also worked on 'Space: 1999,' 'Stingray,' 'Captain Scarlet'

Gerry Anderson, the creator of marionette-based TV sci-fi series “Thunderbirds,” died Wednesday at a nursing home near Oxfordshire, England.

He was 83 and had suffered from Alzheimer’s since 2010.

Anderson, working alongside his second wife Sylvia Thamm Anderson, also created “Space: 1999,” “Stingray” and “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.”

Anderson’s television career launched in the 1950s. After “Thunderbirds” aired in the 1960s, “Thunderbirds are go!” became a catchphrase for generations. The series also introduced the use of “supermarionation” — a system that deployed marionettes controlled by thin wires and electronic motors to achieve a basic form of lip-sync.

“Thunderbirds,” which centered on the Tracy family and their emergency service, International Rescue, was first broadcast on U.K. commercial web ITV in 1965. It was adapted as a feature film, “Thunderbirds Are Go,” for United Artists in 1966, which was followed by sequel “Thunderbird 6.”

Working Title Films adapted “Thunderbirds” as a feature film in 2005, but it flopped at the box office.

Son Jamie Anderson told the AP that while his father first broke ground with puppets in “Thunderbirds,” he was trying new techniques, like advanced computer-generated imagery, in his later years with projects such as 2005’s “New Captain Scarlet,” the reimagining of his 1967 TV animation.

Anderson, who was born in Feltham, southern England, started out as a film trainee at Colonial Films, before joining Gainsborough Pictures.

He formed AP Films with Arthur Provis in 1956, producing puppet series “The Adventures of Twizzle” with writer and animator Roberta Leigh that year.

Anderson followed with fantasy puppet shows “Supercar,” “Fireball XL5” and “Stingray” in the early 1960s.

Anderson then set up production company Century 21, which produced two other sci-fi marionette shows, “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons” in 1967 and “Joe 90” in 1968.

Many of his shows were produced in partnership with ITC owner Lew Grade.

Anderson produced his first sci-fi feature, “Journey to the Far Side of the Sun,” which starred Ian Hendry and Patrick Wymark, in 1969, and his first all-live action series for television, “UFO,” the same year. Most recently he worked as a consultant on Matthew Gratzner’s feature film adaptation of “UFO.”

In the 1970s, he produced other live-action series, such as Robert Vaughn starrer “The Protectors,” about an international crime-fighting agency, and sci-fi adventure “Space: 1999,” which starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.

He produced puppet series “Terrahawks” in 1982.

In recent years, Anderson and his son had become active supporters of Britain’s Alzheimer’s Society.

Anderson is survived by his third wife, Mary, and four children.

(Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More Scene

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

  • Katy Perry, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna

    Katy Perry and Anita Hill Honored at the DVF Awards

    Katy Perry was among the honorees at the 10th Annual DVF Awards on Thursday night. The singer was recognized for her advocacy work with both UNICEF and the LGBTQ community. “Music has opened the doors for so many opportunities for me,” she said while accepting the inspiration award. “The ability to meet people and champion [...]

  • Chrissy Metz'Breakthrough' Film Premiere, Arrivals, Regency

    Why 'This Is Us' Star Chrissy Metz Could End Up Performing at the Next Oscars

    Chrissy Metz made her live-singing debut on Sunday when she performed “I’m Standing With You” from her new movie “Breakthrough.” Was that just a step on her way to performing at the Oscars? Could be. The song was written by 10-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren. “They said Chrissy had to sing it and I was [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Disney's Bob Iger Blasts Hateful Political Discourse and Social Media: 'We Can Do Better'

    Bob Iger didn’t mince words while being honored Thursday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Upon receiving the Humanitarian Award at the organization’s National Tribute Dinner from Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Walt Disney Co. chairman and CEO delivered a scathing critique of social media and the current state of political discourse. “Hate and anger are dragging us [...]

  • David Harbour'Hellboy' special film screening, Arrivals,

    Why David Harbour Just Compared 'Hellboy' to 'Hamlet'

    David Harbour understands if movie-goers don’t realize he’s the star of the new “Hellboy.” “I was kind of stunned. It’s quite a transformation. I didn’t even recognize myself,” the “Stranger Things” star recalls about seeing himself for the first time as the half-demon superhero. “And as the process went on I started to actually fetishize [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content