Animation World Network is saddened to report that legendary animator/director Chuck Jones passed away on Friday, February 22, 2002 of congestive heart failure. He was 89 years old. Jones animation career, which spanned 60 years, took off in 1932 when Ub Iwerks hired him as a cel washer. In 1936 Jones became an animator for the Leon Schlesinger Studio (later sold to Warner Bros.), and in 1938 directed his first film, THE NIGHT WATCHMAN. Heading his own unit, Jones remained at Warner Bros. Animation Dept. until it closed in 1962. During his nearly 30 years at Warner Bros., Jones had a hand in creating Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck and other enduring characters, and was the sole creator of such classics as the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and Marvin the Martian. After leaving Warner Bros. he directed many films including DR. SEUSS HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH and established his own production company, Chuck Jones Enterprises. In the late 1970s Jones and his daughter, Linda Jones Clough, pioneered a continuing art business featuring limited edition images created by Jones depicting scenes from his most enduring cartoons. One of those films was the Wagnerian mini epic, WHAT'S OPERA, DOC? which was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1992 for being "among the most culturally, historically and aesthetically significant films of our time." Over the course of his career he won three Academy Awards for his animated short films and was presented with a fourth Academy Award in 1996 for lifetime achievement. Jones had recently created his first original character in over 40 years, Thomas T. Wolf, for the animated Web series TIMBER WOLF. A memorial event will be held in Newport Beach at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in the name of Chuck Jones to the Motion Picture & Television Fund or to the Chuck Jones Foundation which was established two years ago by Jones to recognize, support and inspire continued excellence in the art of classic character animation. Donations may be sent to: Motion Picture & Television Fund, 22212 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 300, Woodland Hills, CA 91364 or The Chuck Jones Foundation: P.O. Box 2319, Costa Mesa, CA 92628.
On a much happier occasion, AWN attended the animation legend's swanky 85th birthday party.