Lifestyle & Belief

Gerry Anderson, creator of cult hit sci-fi animation 'Thunderbirds' dies aged 83


A screengrab from the Twitter page of Jamie Anderson, son of "Thunderbirds" creator Gerry Anderson, announcing his death.

Gerry Anderson, the British director and creator of the cult sci-fi animation series "Thunderbirds," has died aged 83.

According to the BBC, Anderson was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and moved into a care home near Oxfordshire, England, in October after his health deteriorated.

His son, Jamie, one of four children, wrote on his blog:

"I'm very sad to announce the death of my father, 'Thunderbirds' creator Gerry Anderson. He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today ... having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years." 

Anderson, a puppeteer and animator, started his TV career in the 1950s, creating such popular shows as "Stingray" and "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons," Reuters wrote.

Other creations included "UFO," "Space: 1999," "Supercar" and "Fireball XL5," added the BBC.

He created "Thunderbirds," a science-fiction fantasy — about a daring rescue squad based on a Pacific island that uses spacecraft and other high-tech vehicles — in 1965, using a form of marionette puppetry dubbed Supermarionation.

The technique fuses marionette figures and small-scale models to create live action-style shows, Reuters wrote.

The phrase "Thunderbirds are go!" became a catchphrase for generations, wrote the Associated Press.

Jamie told the AP:

"He forever changed the direction of sci-fi entertainment. Lots of animation and films that have been made in the past 20 or 30 years have been inspired by the work that he did."

Anderson in recent years became an active supporters of Britain’s Alzheimer’s Society and, according to Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of society, tirelessly worked to raise awareness and raise money for a cure.

“He was determined, despite his own recent diagnosis, to spend the last year of his life speaking out for others living with dementia to ensure their voices were heard and their lives improved,” Hughes said.