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Famed Animation Designer Hazelton Dies

On April 6, 2005, animation designer/comic strip artist Gene Hazelton passed away at age 85.

Hazelton was born in 1919 and by his teens was assisting cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo on the popular newspaper panel, THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME. In 1939, he took an entry-level job at Disney, where he worked his way from gag-man to animator. His most notible work at Disney was animating the goat kids and cherubim in FANTASIA and several sequences in PINOCCHIO.

Spurred by the strike at Disney in 1941, Hazelton moves to Warner Bros. where he designed the infamous characters for COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS, which was directed by Bob Clampett.

Later Hazelton would work at MGM with Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera on TOM & JERRY and with Tex Avery on his shorts. Hazelton also designed the "Sinbad the Sailor" sequence in Gene Kellys feature, INVITATION TO THE DANCE. Through the 1950s and 60s, Hazelton did various commercial and magazine work, including work for Grantray-Lawrence Prods. as well as the famed title for I LOVE LUCY.

At Hanna-Barbera, Hazelton was a key artist in establishing the style of the early programs and is credited as designing Pebbles and Bamm Bamm for THE FLINTSTONES. In 1961, he began to supervise the syndicated newspaper features of THE FLINTSTONES and YOGI BEAR. In 1974, he took over writing and drawing both strips fulltime.

After he retired, he continued to draw Hanna-Barbera "sericels, which are sold at animation art galleries as well as dabbling in teaching.

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Rick DeMott
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