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London - Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson died on Wednesday aged 83 after battling dementia for two years.
Tributes poured in for the producer who helped change the face of television by developing the puppet heroes who delighted millions of youngsters.
His creations, which also included hit shows Stingray, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90, were described as making childhood ‘an incredible place to be’.
Anderson’s condition had dramatically deteriorated over the last six months and he died peacefully in his sleep, his son Jamie said.
Gerry Anderson had spoken about his dementia after being diagnosed in 2010 and he became an active supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Jeremy Hughes, the society’s chief executive, said: ‘With the support of his family, Gerry tirelessly attended events around the country to raise awareness of the condition and to raise funds for a cure.’
Anderson began his TV career in the 1950s and established himself as one of its leading creative forces over a career spanning nearly six decades.
He helped pioneer a technique called Supermarionation, which enabled puppets’ speech to be synchronised with their mouth movements.
He had early successes with Fireball XL5 and Stingray, but it was Thunderbirds, filmed on the Slough Trading Estate in Berkshire and first broadcast in 1965, that made his name.
The science fiction show, featuring the catchphrase ‘Thunderbirds are go!’, revolved around International Rescue, a secret emergency service run by the Tracy family aided by London agent Lady Penelope and her cockney chauffeur, Parker. After his death, TV presenter Jonathan Ross tweeted: ‘Sad news. Gerry Anderson RIP. For men of my age his work made childhood an incredible place to be.’
Nick Williams, chairman of Fanderson, the Gerry Anderson appreciation society, said: ‘He inspired so many and continues to bring so much joy to so many millions around the world.’
As well as Jamie, Anderson leaves three other children, Joy, Linda and Gerry Junior, and a widow, Mary, his third wife. - Daily Mail