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Category: In Passing

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

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

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

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.

Books Headline News

Disney Animator/Illustrator J. P. Miller Dies

John Parr Miller, an early animator for Walt Disney and best-selling children's books illustrator, died on Oct. 29, 2004, in Long Island, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. He was 91 and lived in Manhasset, New York. His death was announced by his family.

J. P. Miller is best known for his work on the Little Golden Books line of books. His THE LITTLE RED HEN is still a perennial seller, despite being published a half a century ago.

Headline News

Comedian/Voice Actor Dayton Allen Dies

Comedian and voice actor Dayton Allen died on Nov. 11, 2004 at age 85. Animation fans will remember him most as the voices of Heckle and Jeckle. Born Dayton Allen Bolke, he was a native of New York and he got into show business, following the path of his boyhood friend, Art Carney. Both broke into radio in their teens as disc jockeys and specialists in funny voices. Dayton used his skills on early children's TV shows, dubbing in voices for puppets and often appearing on camera.

Cartoon Headline News

CARTOON’s Alexandra Tholance Passes Away

Alexandra Tholance, press attaché for CARTOON, passed away Nov.7, 2004, after a long battle with breast cancer.

Alexandra Tholance, press attaché for CARTOON during the past decade, passed away Nov.7, 2004, after a long battle with breast cancer.

Her family has organized a religious ceremony Nov. 10 at 3:00 pm at the Notre Dame Church in Villerupt, the little village east of France near the Belgium/Luxembourg border where she lived with her companion Alain Berberi.

Series Headline News

Legendary French/British Stop-Motion Master Ivor Wood Dies

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at 12:00am

Ivor Wood, the animator who worked on some of the best-loved children's television programs, including THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, THE WOMBLES, PADDINGTON and POSTMAN PAT, has died in London, reports THE TIMES. He was 72 years old.

Animation Headline News

Animation Checker/Actress Kathrin Victor Services Set Oct. 29

Animation checker and actress Kathrin Victor, who was also known as Kathrin Leichliter, died on Oct. 22, 2004 in Los Angeles from complications after a stroke at the age of 81. From 1960 until her retirement in 2000 she worked for Graphic Arts, Snowball, DeTiege, Eagle, Creston, Hanna-Barbera, DePatie-Freleng, Filmation, Don Bluth, Box Office Originals and Disney TV Animation.

Film Headline News

Superman Star Christopher Reeve, Set to Direct Animated Film, Dies at 52

Actor Christopher Reeve, star of four SUPERMAN films and real life hero after becoming paralyzed from the neck down, died Oct. 10, 2004, in Bedford, New York, from heart failure at the age of 52.

The great-looking lead of four SUPERMAN films, THE BOSTONIANS, SOMEWHERE IN TIME and THE REMAINS OF THE DAY became a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair when he broke his neck and injured his spinal cord when he was thrown from a horse in an equestrian event in 1995.

Headline News

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield Passes Away

Famed comedian Rodney Dangerfield passed away on Oct. 5, 2004. He was 82. The "I don't get no respect" funnyman had fallen into a coma after undergoing heart surgery on Aug. 25. His publicist said in a statement that Dangerfield suffered a small stroke after the operation and developed infectious and abdominal complications. But in the past week he had emerged from the coma.

"When Rodney emerged, he kissed me, squeezed my hand and smiled for his doctors," Dangerfield's wife, Joan, said in the statement.

Headline News

Educational TV Pioneer Schneider Dies

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 12:00am

Joel Schneider, a pioneering force in educational programming, died of cancer on Sept. 12, 2004 in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He was 61 years old.

Schneider served as content director for CRO, an animated science series broadcast by ABC on Saturday mornings. Recently, he served as vp for education and research at Sesame Workshop, where he focused on activities in China, including the development of a new planetarium show with a SESAME STREET theme. In addition, he was instrumental in the development of Kami, the first HIV-positive Muppet.

Animation Headline News

Disney Pioneer Frank Thomas Dies at 92

By Rick DeMott | Thursday, September 9, 2004 at 12:00am

Frank Thomas, who helped pioneer the animated art form as a member of Walt Disneys elite Nine Old Men, passed away Wednesday night at his home in Flintridge, California. He celebrated his 92nd birthday on Sunday with family and friends, including director Brad Bird, who honored Thomas and lifelong friend and colleague Ollie Johnston the last of the Nine Old Men with cameo appearances in both THE IRON GIANT and Disney/Pixars THE INCREDIBLES.