Disney Animator and Game Pioneer, Gene Portwood Jr. Passes
Raymond Eugene "Gene" Portwood Jr., a one-time Disney animator and the co-creator of the ground breaking computer game, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?, has passed. On July 17, 2000, Portwood died of a heart attack in the Windsor, California convalescent center, where he was staying to recover from a stroke 18 months earlier. He was 66 years old. In 1950, Portwood skipped college and went directly to work at Disney. He eventually helped draw scenes for LADY AND THE TRAMP, SLEEPING BEAUTY and CAPTAIN HOOK. For five years Portwood drew Jiminy Cricket for the opening sequences of Disneys weekly TV program. For several years, he left animation to better support his family, finding work at Security National Bank, Honeywell International and UC Berkeley. But the artistic bug never left him. In 1980, Portwood befriended the founders of Broderbund and eventually teamed with Lauren Elliott to create WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO? The duo went on to create such games as WHERE IN THE U.S.A. IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?, DROL, LODE RUNNER and CHOPLIFTER. After Broderbund was sold to the Learning Company, Portwood and Elliott left to form Elliott Portwood Productions, where they created the 14th century tour of Europe game, THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF ARISTOTLE MCGUFFIN. Portwoods official title at Elliott Portwood Productions was creative consultant, however the sign on his door read, "Department of Redundancy Reduction Department." He is survived by his wife, Myra Bates Portwood; five daughters Kathy Gamberutti, Kari Hermanson, and Kelley, Kim and Kristi Portwood; and two sisters Lynette Foster and Darlene Insley.