By CASSANDRA VINOGRAD
Gerry Anderson, puppetry pioneer and British creator of the sci-fi hit “Thunderbirds” TV show, has died. He was 83.
Anderson’s son Jamie said his father died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday at a nursing home near Oxfordshire, England, after being diagnosed with mixed dementia two years ago.
His condition had worsened dramatically over the past six months, his son said.
Anderson’s television career launched in the 1950s. Once “Thunderbirds” aired in the 1960s, “Thunderbirds are go!” became a catchphrase for generations. It also introduced the use of “supermarionation” _ a puppetry technique using thin wires to control marionettes _ and made sci-fi mainstream, according to Jamie Anderson.
He said the TV show was perhaps his father’s proudest achievement _ along with the cross-generational appeal of his body of work, which also included TV shows “Stingray” and “Space: 1999,” among others.
Most recently, Anderson worked as a consultant on a Hollywood remake of his 1969 series “UFO.”
In recent years, Anderson and his son had become active supporters of Britain’s Alzheimer’s Society.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of society, said Anderson tirelessly attended events to raise awareness and raise money for a cure.
Anderson is survived by his wife, Mary, and four children.