ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 3.11 - February 1999
Jean-Luc Xiberras. Photo by Ron Diamond. © Animation World Network.
Annecy Director Xiberras Passes Away. France's Annecy Festival Director Jean-Luc Xiberras died on December 26, 1998 at 57 years old after a long battle with illness. The Mayor of Annecy, the festival President & Board and the festival staff unanimously saluted his courage and determination for continuing to be a force in the festival's operation during his term of illness. Animation World Network's General Manager, Annick Teninge, who worked closely with Xiberras as Annecy's Assistant Director for six years, said, "Throughout my tenure working with Jean-Luc, I admired how he created the world's largest and most prestigious festival, building on each year's successes with only a small staff and his dedication to and belief in the cause." Xiberras started his career in the 1960s as an organizer and director for various cultural associations. He started as director of the prestigious Annecy Festival in 1982 helping make the now yearly gathering the largest animation festival in the world. He will be missed by many.
Read Animation World Magazine's tribute to Jean-Luc Xiberras in this issue.
Barbarella Creator Dies At 68. Jean-Claude Forest, who created the provocative sci-fi comic strip character Barbarella and designed sets for the `60s movie starring Jane Fonda, passed away December 30, 1998 at the age of 68. Forest created the seductive 41st century adventurer in 1962 originally appearing in V Magazine. The cult favorite Roger Vadim-directed movie released in June 1968, Barbarella, secured her place in fandom history. Barbarella has had a great influence on popular media inspiring artists like modern fashion designers, the `80s pop group Duran Duran (their name is from a character in the film), modern comic strip heroines and computerized femme fatales like Lara Croft. Toronto, Canada-based animation studio NELVANA is currently developing Forest's creation into an animated television series. "Jean-Claude Forest created a modern-day Candide in Barbarella," said Michael Hirsh, Co-CEO of NELVANA Limited. "His humor and wit, combined with comedic sexual fantasy, gave birth to our idea of the modern-day heroine."
Cruella's Voice Is Silenced. Betty Lou Gerson, the actress behind the distinctive voice of fur-loving villainess Cruella De Vil, in Disney's classic animated feature, 101 Dalmations (1961), passed away on January 12 at the age of 84. She was also the narrator of Disney's earlier film, Cinderella (1950), and made a cameo appearance in Mary Poppins. In addition, she was a veteran radio and television actor who appeared in such shows as The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Perry Mason; and such films as Undercover Girl, The Fly and Miracle of the Hills. Her unique voice was often compared to that of Tallulah Bankhead. Marc Davis, one of Disney's Nine Old Men, who designed and animated the character of Cruella, recalls, "Betty Lou's voice was a true inspiration. She had one of those unique voices that gave you something special to work with and which helped me define the character. She was a dear lady and we will miss her very much." In recent years, she had returned to doing voice-over work for Disney and other animation studios. Among her last roles was the crabby, ex-diva fish, Francis, in Turner's 1997 animated feature Cats Don't Dance.
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