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Category: In Passing

Animation Headline News

Animation Ad Vet Lou Hertz Passes On

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.

Animation Headline News

Cartoonist Rowland B. Wilson Dies

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.

Headline News

Voice of Piglet John Fiedler Passes Away

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.

Disney Headline News

Comic Publisher/Conservationist Bruce Hamilton Dies

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.

Disney Headline News

Wife of Ollie Johnston Dies at Age 87

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.

Headline News

Voice of Tony the Tiger Passes Away

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."

Show Headline News

Actor Howard Morris Dies

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.

Headline News

Voice of Fred Flintstone Goes Silent

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.

Disney Headline News

Pioneering Disney Artist/Storyman Joe Grant Passes Away

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.

Headline News

Animator/director Ed Friedman Passes Away at 92

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.

Headline News

Blue's Clues Animator Killed In Car Crash

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.

Headline News

Cartoonist Emil Samuel “Zeke” Zekley Dies at 90

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.


Headline News

Famed Illustrator André François Passes Away

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.

Headline News

Animator Bob Gardiner Passes Away

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.

Headline News

TV Toon Distributor Claude S. Hill Dies

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.

Work Headline News

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.

Television Headline News

Veteran Animator/Producer Hal Seeger Passes Away

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.

Business Headline News

Buena Vista TV Exec Steven Cohen Dead at 33

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.

Years Headline News

Actors Ossie Davis & John Vernon Die

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.

Headline News

Legendary Comics Artist Will Eisner Dies at 87

Legendary comics and graphic novel artist and writer Will Eisner died Jan. 3, 2005, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 87, following complications from quadruple heart bypass surgery, reports Bob Andelman, author of the upcoming authorized biography, WILL EISNER: A SPIRITED LIFE.

A comics artist since the 1930s, Eisner was the first to use "silent" balloonless panels to show characters' emotions by focusing attention on their accentuated facial expressions.

Headline News

Lumiere Voice Jerry Orbach Dies

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 29, 2004 at 12:00am

Actor Jerry Orbach, who voiced Lumiere in Disneys BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, has died of prostate cancer at 69 in Manhattan on Dec. 28, 2004. Orbach is best known for his work on TV and the stage. He starred as veteran cop Det. Lennie Briscoe on LAW & ORDER and was the original narrator in the off-off-Broadway hit THE FANTASTICKS, which ran for more than 40 years.