Long John Baldry, a British blues-rock singer who helped start the careers of the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Elton John and other British stars, died of a severe chest infection on July 21, 2005, in Vancouver, British Columbia, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. He was 64.
Category: In Passing
Byron C. Preiss, an author and a publisher who specialized in illustrated books by celebrities, graphic novels and science fiction, died in a car accident on July 9, 2005, in East Hampton, New York, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. He was 52 and lived in Manhattan.
Preiss, the president of Byron Preiss Visual Publications and Ibooks, was one of the first publishers to release CD-ROM's and electronic books.
Norman Prescott, chairman, co-founder and exec producer at Filmation Studios, died July 2, 2005, of natural causes in Los Angeles, according to VARIETY. He was 78.
Animation advertising veteran Lou Hertz died at his home in Atlanta on July 4, 2005, after a brief battle with cancer; he was 73.
Hertz was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and studied at the University Of Miami, where he claimed to have majored in suntanning, according to a family bio. He served two years as a lieutenant in the Air Force where he began his career as an animator by making training films for bomber crews. Hertz was an animator for United Artists in Hollywood before he settled in Atlanta in 1957.
Cartoonist Rowland B. Wilson passed away on June 28, 2005. Wilson is best known for his strips for magazines such as TV GUIDE, PLAYBOY and THE NEW YORKER. He also worked in animation at Walt Disney Feature Animation on such films as THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, TARZAN and HERCULES). He moved on to work with Don Bluth on THUMBELINA) and for the Richard Williams studio. He won a daytime Emmy for Educational Animation for his work on ABCs SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK, as well as PLAYBOY MAGAZINE's Cartoonist of the Year Award.
Grammy-nominated Hollywood singer/actress Robie Lester, who was the singing voice behind Eva Gabor in THE ARISTOCATS and THE RESCUERS, died June 14, 2005, of cancer at St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank at age 75.
Paul Winchell, a ventriloquist, inventor and children's TV show host best known for creating the voice of Winnie the Pooh's animated friend Tigger, died on June 24, 2005, in his sleep at his home in Moorpark, California. He was 82.
Actor John Fiedler, whose distinctive high-pitched voice brought life to Winnie-the-Poohs Piglet, died on June 25, 2005. He was 80.
Fiedler began voicing Piglet in the Oscar-winning short WINNIE THE POOH AND THE BLUSTERY DAY in 1968 and continued up until his death. His other animation roles included Porcupine in THE FOX AND THE HOUND, Sexton Mouse in ROBIN HOOD, Deacon Owl in THE RESCUERS and a small role in THE EMPERORS NEW GROOVE.
Comic book publisher Bruce Hamilton passed away on June 20, 2005, following a prolonged illness. In 1981, Hamilton, along with Russ Cochran, two long-time Disney comics fans, decided to combine forces to bring greater recognition to the work of one of the greats of comic art Carl Barks, creator of the popular Disney comic book character, Uncle Scrooge McDuck, miserly-yet-adventurous uncle of Donald Duck.
Marie Johnston, the wife of legendary Disney animator Ollie Johnston, passed away on May 20 from complications due to pneumonia, at her home in Flintridge, California. She was 87 years old and had been in declining health. The Johnstons celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Thurl Ravenscroft, who provided the rumbling "They're Grrrrreeeat!" for Kellogg's Tony the Tiger ads and voiced many Disney characters, has died of prostate cancer, reports CNN. He was 91.
"I'm the only man in the world that has made a career with one word: Grrrrreeeat!" Ravenscroft told the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER in 1996. "When Kellogg's brought up the idea of the tiger, they sent me a caricature of Tony to see if I could create something for them. After messing around for some time I came up with the 'Grrrrreeeat!' roar, and that's how it's been since then."
Howard Morris, best known for roles on YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS and as poetry-spouting Ernest T. Bass on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, died on May 22, 2005, reports CNN. He was 85.
For his animation career, the comedian was under contract in the 1960s with Hanna-Barbara Prods. and ended up providing voices for such shows as THE JETSONS, THE FLINTSTONES, ATOM ANT, THE ARCHIE SHOW, BEETLE BAILEY, MY FAVORITE MARTIANS, COW AND CHICKEN and DUCKTALES. He also did most of the voices for Gene Deitch's Oscar-winning classic short, MUNRO.
Henry Corden, the second voice of Fred Flintstone died May 19, 2005, of emphysema at AMI Encino Hospital, at the age of 85, according to his longtime agent Don Pitts. Corden's wife of nine years, Angelina, was with him at the time.
Born in Montreal, Canada, Corden moved to New York City as a child and came to Hollywood in the 1940s. His first acting role was in the 1947 Boris Karloff film, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY. With his dark hair, bearded face and deep voice, Corden often played villains and heavies.
Joe Grant, one of Walt Disneys most creative and trusted artists and storymen, who designed the Queen/Witch character in SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, and co-wrote DUMBO, passed away May 6 at his home in Glendale, California. He was 96, just nine days short of his 97th birthday. Grant suffered a heart attack while working at his drawing board at his home studio. Still very active, Grant continued to work at Walt Disney Feature Animation four days a week, including the day before he died.
Animator/director Ed Eddie Friedman passed away on April 29, 2005, at the age of 92 in Los Angeles, due to complications from a stroke he had suffered a stroke about a year ago. From 1933 until 1989, Friedman worked for Iwerks, Mintz/Screen Gems, John Sutherland, Disney, UPA, Format, Bagle Productions, Ed Graham and Filmation.
Cartoonist Emil Samuel Zekley (aka Zeke Zekley), 90, died April 28, 2005 at his Beverly Hills home, with his family at his side, after a long illness.
He drew BRINGING UP FATHER/MAGGIE AND JIGGS, PEACHY KEEN, DUD DUDLEY, MCDONALDLAND MAGAZINES, THE SQUIRRELS CLUB MAGAZINE for Glendale Federal Savings and AT EASE magazine for the U.S. Army.
BLUES CLUES animator Paul Beard died April 22, 2005, from injuries suffered the previous day in a two-vehicle crash southeast of Kansas City, Missouri, reports THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS. He was 27 years old.
Beard, a 2000 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, was a passenger in a Ford Explorer driven by his girlfriend, Elizabeth Smail, when she lost control and swerved into oncoming traffic on state highway 13. A second Ford Explorer struck the passenger-side door, where Beard was sitting. Smail was injured, but survived.
Romania-born cartoonist and illustrator André François, whose satirical style moves editorial cartooning away from traditional realism, died on April 11, 2005, at his home in Grisy-les-Plâtres, France, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. He was 89. Cause of death was heart and kidney failure.
James Robbins "Bob" Gardiner passed away April 21, 2005, in Grass Valley, California, where he resided from 1991 to 2005, reports THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. He won an Oscar and other national and international awards in 1974, for the groundbreaking clay animated short film CLOSED MONDAYS, which he wrote, sculpted, directed and co-produced.
TV distributor Claude S. Hill died March 18 in Kingsport, Tennessee at the age of 71, reports VARIETY. Through ARP Films, he distributed many of the Marvel Comics animated shows, including SPIDERMAN, INCREDIBLE HULK, MIGHTY THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA. In addition, he distributed ROCKET ROBIN HOOD, MAX THE 2000 YEAR OLD MOUSE and STAR BLAZERS.
He was a long time member of the Friar's Club and NATPE.
He is survived by his wife, Janice, a daughter, two grandchildren and one great-grandson and two sisters.
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.
Veteran animator and producer Hal Seeger passed away on March 13, 2005, at the age of 87. Seeger started in animation as an assistant animator at the Fleischer Studios. He also served as a ghostwriter for Bud Counihan's BETTY BOOP comicstrip. In the late 1950s, he started Hal Seeger Prods., in New York City, specializing in television commercials. In the early 1960s, his studio created cartoons for syndication and Saturday morning television, including a KoKo The Clown revival OUT OF THE INKWELL, ABC's THE MILTON THE MONSTER SHOW and BATFINK.
Vance Gerry, a veteran Disney animation storyman, layout artist and visual development artist since 1955, passed away on March 5, 2005, at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, of complications from cancer. He was 75 years old.
Steven Cohen, vp of business & legal affairs, Buena Vista Television, died in his sleep on Jan. 31, 2005, at the age of 33. A memorial service will be held on Monday, February 7 at 2:00 pm at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles. The cause of death has not been released.
Actor John Vernon passed away in his sleep on Feb. 1, 2005, at his Los Angeles home. He was 72 years old. The death is attributed to complications from heart surgery he had on Jan. 16. His animation work included Rupert Thorne on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, and Major Glenn Talbot, Sub-Mariner and Iron Man on THE MARVEL SUPERHEROES SHOW as well as WILDFIRE (1986), THE INCREDIBLE HULK (1996-97), PINKY AND THE BRAIN (1995-98) and HEAVY METAL (1981). Vernon is best known for his role as Dean Wormer in 1978's ANIMAL HOUSE.