Richard P. Kempster, exec producer at visual effects and character animation at studio Kleiser-Walczak, died March 28, 2004 at his home in Seal Beach, California after suffering a pulmonary embolism. He was 57.
Category: In Passing
Mitsuteru Yokoyama, the cartoonist behind the classic manga GIGANTOR, passed away April 15, 2004 after suffering burns from a fire in his Tokyo home earlier in the day, reported KYODO NEWS. He was 69. The blaze was reported to police by his younger sister when she discovered his bed was on fire. The cause of the fire has not been determined. His other credits include RED SHADOW, JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT, MASKED NINJA AKAKAGE and SALLY, THE WITCH.
AWN is saddened to report that legendary animation educator and historian Bill Moritz passed away on March 12, 2004 after suffering a long illness.
Dr. William Moritz is a world-renowned expert on animation, experimental film and visual music, and has authored more than 100 articles, chapters and program notes. His forthcoming book OPTICAL POETRY is the culmination of his 34 years of research and work with the Fischinger Archive. OPTICAL POETRY reveals fully his passion for the Fischinger legacy, and fully details his decades of archival work on the films.
Voice actor Tony Pope, who gave voice to Goofy and the Wolf in WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, Detective Shunsaku Ban in the animated film METROPOLIS and Furby, an interactive toy that was the rage in 1998, has passed on at the age of 56. He died of complications following leg surgery Feb. 11, 2004 at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California.
Stage and voice actor Jason Raise died last week of an apparent suicide in Yass, Australia, reported Broadway.com. He was 28.
Raize voiced the character of Denahi from Disney's BROTHER BEAR. He made his Broadway breakthrough as the original Simba in the stage version of THE LION KING.
Raize is survived by his father Robert Rothenberg, mother Sarah MacArthur, sister Lisa Williams, stepmother Monet Rothenberg, stepfather Jim Kidd and four stepbrothers and two stepsisters.
Longtime Disney artist John Hench passed away on Feb. 5, 2004 after suffering heart failure after a brief illness and hospitalization at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. He was 95 years old.
CAPTAIN KANGAROO host Bob Keeshan died in Montpelier, Vermont on Jan. 23, 2004, reports CNN. He was 76 and had been suffering from a long illness. Keeshan hosted the CBS children's show from 1955 to 1985. The classic UPA TOM TERRIFIC series, created by Gene Deitch, was created specifically to air on CAPTAIN KANGAROO. He started working in entertainment as a NBC page during high school. For five years, he played the silent Clarabell the Clown on THE HOWDY DOODY SHOW.
Veteran MAD magazine illustrator George Woodbridge has passed away, reported the ASSOCIATED PRESS. He died of emphysema on Jan. 20, 2004 at the age of 73. Starting as a freelance artist for MAD in 1957, Woodbridge was best known for his detailed pen-and-ink drawings. A perfectionist when it came to authenticity, he also contributed drawings for military history books, including the three-volume, AMERICAN MILITARY EQUIPAGE, 1851-1872.
Robert F. Enrietto, Jr., former production manager, assistant director, producer and, most recently, administrator of Columbia College Chicagos Semester in L.A. program, died of a heart attack during the holiday break (Dec. 27, 2003) while vacationing in Chicago. He was 62.
Guy Hudson, who worked on the visual effects for such notable projects as ALIEN, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, JURASSIC PARK and the DINOTOPIA TV series, passed away suddenly on Dec. 24, 2003 from a brain hemorrhage. He was 45 years old.
Hudson first came to Northern California in 1987 to work for Chris Walas Inc. Since then he has worked for such facilities as Disney, Henson Prods., Industrial Light & Magic and Western Images.
Wah Ming Chang, an Academy Award-winning animator and artist, died Dec. 22, 2003 in Carmel, California at the age of 86.
Some of his more notable works include a stop-motion animation production of THE THREE BEARS. Chang created posable wooden models of PINOCCHIO and BAMBI so that Disney animators could study body movements. He also contributed to BOZO THE CLOWN, TOM THUMB, THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM and THE SEVEN FACES OF DR. LAO, reported Associated Press.
G.A. Menon, chairman of Toonz Animation India (Technopark, Trivandrum, India), died on Dec. 2, 2003 at the age of 72 of a heart attack he suffered on a Los Angelesbound flight from Singapore.
A native of Kerala, Menons career spanned more than 40 years in the global electronics business. He began his career at a statistician in the Thackersey Mooljee Group of textile mills in Bombay. Upon receiving his M.B.A. from Harvard, he held various managerial positions at IBM for 15 years.
TV Industry vet Linda Mancuso, svp, head of programming, ABC Family Channel, died Dec. 7, 2003 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles after a seven-year battle with cancer at the age of 44.
Linda made so many contributions to our industry. Her love of the creative process, talent and her team, were inspiring to everyone who came in contact with her, said Anne Sweeney, president, ABC Cable Networks Group and Disney Channel Worldwide. We will remember her warmth, humor and generosity of spirit forever.
Stage and voice actor Harry Goz passed away Sept. 6, 2003 at the age of 71 of cancer at a hospital in Manhasset, New York. Goz was the voice of Captain Murphy in the popular Adult Swim series SEALAB 2021, which airs on Cartoon Network
The co-creators of SEALAB 2021, Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, said in a statement, We are devastated by the loss of our good friend, Harry Goz. Working with him was always sheer joy, and his talent was beyond compare. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we shall all miss him dearly.
Jonathan Brandis, who landed numerous roles as a child actor in television, commercials and film, including THE NEVERENDING STORY 2: THE NEXT CHAPTER, SEAQUEST DSV and was the voice of Mozenrath on DISNEYS ALADDIN TV series (1993), took his own life at the age of 27 and died Nov. 12, 2003 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Penny Singleton, the voice of Jane Jetson and the actress who brought the popular comic strip character Blondie to life in films, died Nov. 12, 2003 at Sherman Oaks Hospital, two weeks after suffering a stroke, at the age of 95.
Singleton was best known on camera for her role as the wife to bumbling husband, Dagwood Bumstead (played by Arthur Lake) in THE BLONDIE series, which had 28 films from 1938 to 1950. The films were based on the cartoon strip, created by Chic Young in 1930, about the misadventures of a small town family.
Veteran animator and director Carl Urbano died on October 16, 2003 at the age of 94. Starting in 1931, he worked for Winklers, Van Beuren, Harman-Ising, MGM, Hugh Harman, John Sutherland and Hanna-Barbera. He was awarded the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Golden Award in 1981.
In the second half of his career, Urbano, along with Ray Patterson and a few others, formed the directing backbone at the Hanna-Barbera studios for nearly three decades, working on such programs as CHALLENGE OF THE SUPERFRIENDS, POPEYE, SCOOBY-DOO, POPEYE and CASPER specials.
Animation pioneer Jules Engel, who passed away Sept. 6, 2003 at the age of 94, was loved by many and inspired many generations of animators by way of his teaching, art and animation career. ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE will pay tribute to this inspirational man in a collection of thoughts and pictures from those who knew and admired him. We have been receiving many e-mails already from people who were touched by him. Please add your remembrances, anecdotes, express your feelings about him as well as any photos or drawings you would like to share in this online memorial to Jules Engel.
Jaclyn Linetsky, the English voice of Caillou in the animated series produced by CINAR, died at the age of 17 on September 8, 2003, in a fatal automobile crash in Montreal.
"Jaclyn's voice enchanted thousands of children and viewers and she brought her own special personality and character to Caillou, said CINAR president/ceo Stuart Snyder. She was a very talented performer and will be deeply missed by us all."
Animation talent and instructor extraordinaire Jules Engel passed away Sept. 6, 2003 in Simi Valley, California at the age of 94. He had experienced complications from a recent fall.
With him at his death, former student and colleague (and marvelous animator/instructor in her own right), USC Animation's Christine Panushka, said, My heart is heavy with the news that Jules passed today [Sept. 6] at 5:15 pm, at a Simi Valley Hospice. The end was peaceful and Jane Ann Dill was at his side as he slipped away.
ZODIAC MEDIA founder/president H. Paul Gill died suddenly of heart failure while playig basketball on June 25, 2003 at the age of 28 in Toronto, Canada.
Kelly O'Brien, former Ottawa Festival director in the '70s and 80s, died May 5, 2003, at age 50 at her home in Beaches, near Toronto in Canada. According to a report in the TORONTO STAR, she suffered from liver disease, but autopsy results were inconclusive, so the matter is still under police investigation.
Veteran Hollywood screenwriter Maurice Rapf who wrote DISNEY'S SONG OF THE SOUTH and co-founded the Writers Guild of America (WGA), died April 15, 2003 at the age of 88 in Hanover, New Hampshire. Rapf was the son of Harry Rapf, one of the MGM Studio pioneers. He appeared briefly as a child actor. While attending Dartmouth College he went on a summer trip to the USSR in 1934. He became active in politics and attended Communist Party functions. Rapf became a Hollywood writer of live-action features and later helped found the WGA.
David Brown, co-founder and ceo of Blue Sky Studios, passed away April 11, 2003 at the age of 64 in Westchester County, New York. Brown, joined MAGI SynthaVision to lead the newly opened New York sales and production facility. As the industry downsized in the late '80s he helped co-found Blue Sky Productions (later renamed Blue Sky Studios), in White Plains, New York in 1987. In the early years he concentrated on developing an animation language built around ray tracing mathematics. Blue Sky focused on photo realism and character animation.