Bill Kovacs, who co-founded Wavefront Technologies, earned a 1997 Academy Award for science and engineering innovations and who worked as a programmer on TRON, passed away last Tuesday at his home in Camarillo, California. Kovacs, who was 56, died of a stroke in his sleep brought on by a cerebral hemorrhage.
Category: In Passing
Arthur Widmer, who developed some of the most widely used visual effects technology in films, including the bluescreen, and earned an Academy Award last year for lifetime achievement, died of cancer on May 28. He was 92.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Widmer the award for his work in developing Ultra Violet and bluescreen effects processes.
Veteran animation producer Edward Herskovitz died May 22, 2006, at his home in Rishon Le'Zion, Israel. He was 85.
Herskovitz worked as an animation producer in Japan during the 1970s. He was one of the founding members of ASIFA-Japan. He collaborated on many international co-productions, making France his second home.
He was born in Egypt in 1921, after his parents moved there when WWI reached what later became Israel. He joined a traveling circus in his youth, eventually settling down in Japan. After a stroke, he moved to Israel.
Harvey Bullock, a prolific comedy writer and producer of film and TV, has passed away. Affected by a series of age-related illnesses, he died on Sunday, April 23, 2006, in Laguna Beach, California, with his family by his side. He was 84.
Bullock worked in animation on several Hanna-Barbera series. He was a writer on THE FLINTSTONES, THE JETSONS, TOP CAT, WELCOME TO IT and WHERE'S HUDDLES? He was the creator, exec producer and writer for the classic 1970s adult animated series, WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME.
Renowned Czech documentary filmmaker Pavel Koutecky died after falling from a high building under construction in the Prague-Pankrac neighborhood while filming is latest film, reports the public Czech Television (CT). He was 49.
The police spokesman told CT that Koutecky had been reported missing since Friday (April 14, 2006) night. Script editor Alena Muellerova said that Koutecky was shooting a documentary about a young man who climbs high buildings.
Animator/director Brad Case died March 19, 2006. He was 93.
His career spanned from 1934 until his retirement in 1999, having worked for Iwerks, Disney, MGM, Lantz, Raphael Wolff, Sutherland, Paul Fennell, Tempo, Calvin Co., Academy, ERA Prods., Hanna-Barbera, Larry Harmon, UPA, Warner Bros., Nicholson, Sanrio, DePatie-Freleng, Marvel, Graz Ent. and New World.
Richard Fleischer, who directed almost 50 movies, died of natural causes on March 25, 2006, at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, said his son Mark. He was 89.
Son of famed animator Max Fleischer, he would direct 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA for Walt Disney, whose named was not spoken in their home. Max told his son that the opportunity was too important to pass up.
The lavishly produced 1954 live-action adaptation of the Jules Verne adventure was a box office hit and moved Fleischer from B-movies to the big time
Voice actor Bob Papenbrook passed away on March 17, 2006, due to complications from a chronic lung condition, reports IMDB.com. He was 50 years old. Papenbrook (sometimes credited as "John Smallberries") was a frequent performer in a voice acting roles, including POWER RANGERS ZEO, TENCHI MUYO and GUNGRAVE. Extensively working on dubbing anime imports, his most recent work can be heard as Capt. Blue in the VIEWTIFUL JOE TV series. He is survived by his wife Debbie Rothstein and son Bryce Papenbrook.
Maureen Stapleton, who won an Academy Award in 1981 for her supporting role as anarchist activist Emma Goldman in Warren Beatty's REDS, died March 13, 2006. She was 80. The longtime smoker died from chronic pulmonary disease in Lenox, Massachusetts, in the Berkshire hills, where she had been living, son Daniel Allentuck said.
Walerian Borowczyk, an internationally known surrealist filmmaker, died of heart trouble on Feb. 3, 2006, in Paris, where he had resided since the late 1950s, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. He was 82.
Originally trained as a painter and graphic artist, he made several dozen films, both animated and live-action, in the decades after World War II. Terry Gilliam, Jan Svankmajer and the Brothers Quay site him as an influence.
Dennis Weaver, who played limping deputy Chester Goode in GUNSMOKE and the intelligent New Mexico deputy solving crime in the Big Apple in TV's MCCLOUD, died Friday, Feb. 24, 2006. He was 81 years old. Weaver died at his home in Ridgway, in southwestern Colorado, of complications from cancer, publicist Julian Myers said Monday.
Don Knotts, who became a TV icon on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW playing bumbling deputy Barney Fife, passed away on Friday, Feb. 24, 2006, at the age of 81. Knotts died of pulmonary and respiratory complications at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills.
In the world of animation, Knotts is most remembered as the title character in live-action 2D animation hybrid, THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET, where he played a meek clerk who turns into a fish after the Navy rejects him.
Mark "Chip" VanDeVelde, vp at Crave Ent., passed away on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006. VanDeVelde was part of the SVG Distribution / Crave Ent. since 1998.
Before coming to Crave, VanDeVelde served as the national sales manager for Konami.
Visitation will be held at the McDonald-Allen-Grennan Funeral Home on Thursday, Feb. 23 from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm and the funeral service will be held on Friday, Feb. 24, at 10:00 am at St. Mary's Catholic Church.
National news outlets are reporting that police have arrested two men in connection with the murder this week of CURIOUS GEORGE collaborator Alan J. Shalleck.
Rex Ditto, 29, and Vincent Puglisi, 54, were arrested shortly before midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, and were later charged with murder.
A lawn-maintenance man found Shallecks body in his driveway Tuesday morning, covered with black trash bags. The body had been lying there for more than a day.
News reports coming out of Florida are reporting that the death of CURIOUS GEORGE writer Alan J. Shalleck is being investigated as a homicide.
THE PALM BEACH POST writes that Shalleck's bloodied body lay under garbage bags in his driveway for more 24 hours until it was found early Tuesday morning. He lived in a mobile home at the Royal Manor Estates, a senior citizen retirement village. He had worked at a local outlet of Borders Books & Music, but had not showed up for work in two days.
Myron Waldman, an animator and illustrator who worked at Fleischer Studios on BETTY BOOP, POPEYE, SUPERMAN and CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST shorts, died Feb. 4, 2006, at New Island Hospital in Bethpage, New York, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. He was 97 and lived in Wantagh, New York. This family said the cause of death was congestive heart failure.
An official Los Angeles memorial service for Hamilton Camp has been set for Jan. 22, 2006, at 2:00 pm at The Improv in Hollywood. Entitled, " Hamid Hamilton Camp: An Afternoon of Stories, Songs and Memories," the presentation will celebrate the life of performer, singer, songwriter and Smurf voice over actor Hamilton Camp (aka Bob Camp and Hamid Hamilton Camp) who died on Oct. 2, 2005, in Los Angeles, at the age of 70.
Shelley Winters, one of only two women to win two Oscars for Best Supporting Actress, died on the morning of Jan. 14, 2006, in Beverly Hills, California. She was 85.
For the animation community, Winters played Lena Gogan in Disneys 1977 live-action animated hybrid PETE'S DRAGON. She lent her voice to Crystal the Snowgirl (Mrs. Frosty) in the 1976 Rankin-Bass Prods. special FROSTY'S WINTER WONDERLAND and reprised the role in the 1979 feature, RUDOLPH AND FROSTY'S CHRISTMAS IN JULY.
Designer/illustrator Charles O. McElmurry passed away Dec. 5, 2005, at the age of 84 in Santa Rosa, California. McElmurry grew up in Los Angeles and attended Chouinard Art Institute. He began his career in the animation industry at Walt Disney in 1942, but was soon drafted into the Marine Corps and sent to Quantico, Virginia. He spent the war years in a film unit there. He attended Chouinard Art Institute on the GI bill.
He later worked for many independent studios in New York, France, and California including Quartet Films, Jay Ward, Cartoon Farm and Bill Melendez.
Gregg Hoffman, Twisted Pictures partner and producer, died of natural causes on Dec. 4, 2005, in Los Angeles. He was 42 years old.
Hoffman, Twisted Pictures president of production, most recently produced SAW, SAW II, CATACOMBS and SILENCE. He was working on CRAWLSPACE and SAW III.
E. Cardon "Card" Walker, who led The Walt Disney Co. for nearly a decade and a half following the death of co-founder Roy O. Disney, passed away at his La Canada, California home on Monday, Nov. 28, 2005, at the age of 89.
Stan Berenstain, who along with his wife created the popular BERENSTAIN BEARS children's books, died on Nov. 26, 2005, reports CNN. He was 82 and lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Irving Ludwig, former president of Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, and one of the most respected and innovative executives in theatrical film distribution, passed away at his home in Santa Monica, California, from natural causes on Nov. 26. He was 95-years -old.
Actor Pat Morita, best known for his iconic role as martial-arts master/handy man Mr. Miyagi in THE KARATE KID franchise, has died, reported the AP. He was 73.
There were conflicting reports regarding the cause of death. His daughter Aly Morita stated he died Nov. 24, 2005, of heart failure at a Las Vegas hospital; while longtime manager Arnold Soloway said he died of kidney failure at a hospital where he was awaiting a transplant.
Independent animator/educator/writer Wendy Jackson Hall passed away Nov. 14, 2005, at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, Washington. She was hospitalized over the past weekend for blood clots in her lungs and was trying to get stabilized enough undergo biopsies for cancer when she died at age 32 of complications from the clots.