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Category: In Passing

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.

Music Headline News

Composer Raksin Dies at 92

David Raksin, the Oscar-nominated composer wrote the memorable theme for 1944's LAURA, and scored several classic UPA cartoons in the 1950s, died Aug. 9. 2004, at the age of 92.

ASSOCIATED PRESS reported that Raksin, who had been ailing for several years and had early stage Alzheimer's disease, died at his home in Van Nuys, California, according to his son, Alex Raksin.

Headline News

Superman Radio Announcer & Bluto Voice Beck Dies

Jackson Beck, the voice-over master of the SUPERMAN radio show, has died, reports NEWSDAY. He was 92. Beck died at about 6:00 am July 28, 2004 of complications of old age, according to Jeff David, a friend. He had been ill after suffering a series of small strokes four or five years ago, David said.

Disney Headline News

Disney Imagineer McKim Dies

Sam McKim, the legendary Disney Imagineer who drew the first souvenir maps of Disneyland in 1954, died of heart failure on July 9, 2004 at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. He was 79 years old. In addition to his Disney career, McKim started out as a child actor who appeared in films with John Wayne, Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Rita Hayworth and Gene Autry.

Work Headline News

Animator Ronald "Gillie" Potter Dies

Ronald "Gillie" Potter, the man who revolutionized digital effects in U.K. advertising, passed away May 25, 2004, reports THE GUARDIAN. He was 80 years old. Potter invented the device of having live-action sequences taking place on a moving product shot. He was involved in the production of more than 2,000 ads, including classic commercials for Rolo, Vicks Vapour Rub, Quaker Oats, Nesquick and Shredded Wheat. His special effects work can also be seen in feature films such as THE LAST EMPEROR, SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE and JURASSIC PARK.

Dark Headline News

Superman Voice Silenced; Danny Dark Dead at 65

Danny Dark, the voice of Superman in the SUPERFRIENDS animated series as well as announcer for StarKist Tuna, Budweiser and many other national brands in television and radio commercials, died on June 13, 2004 in Los Angeles at the age of 65.

The cause of death was bleeding in the lungs, said Dark's brother, the Rev. Robert Croskery, according to the NEW YORK TIMES.

In the StarKist commercials, he told Charlie Tuna, "sorry, Charlie." Dark said, "This Bud's for you" in Budweiser spots, and "Raid kills bugs dead," in commercials for Raid Ant & Roach Killer.

Headline News

Cartoonist Gill Fox Passes Away

Cartoonist Gilbert T. "Gill" Fox, who helped launched characters like Plastic Man and the Spirit, died May 15, 2004 in Redding Ridge, Connecticut, reported the NEW YORK TIMES. He was 88 years old.

Fox worked as an editor, artist and writer at Quality Comics from 1940 to 1943, where he drew covers for Dollman and edited POLICE COMICS, which featured Jack Cole's Plastic Man. He also pen-and-inked TORCHY, a comic book created by the pin-up artist Bill Ward.

Disney Headline News

Bradbury, Animator/Comic Book Artist Dead at 89

Jack Bradbury, animator/comic book artist best known for his work with Walt Disney's characters in both media, died of kidney failure at a nursing home in Sylmar, California, May 15, 2004, at the age of 89, it was reported in the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

A native of Seattle, he started at Disney in the mid-1930s and worked his way up to a full animator position, working on such famous shorts as Ferdinand the Bull and on memorable features, including FANTASIA, BAMBI and PINOCCHIO.

Headline News

Animation Vet Orgel Dies

Lee Orgel, animation producer and veteran of Broadway, television and the film industry, passed away at his home in Burbank, California, of emphysema on May 12, 2004 at the age of 78.

The New Jersey native began his career 60 years ago as the stage manager for MGMs live presentations at the Capitol Theater in New York, after which he became one of the pioneers of television while continuing to produce on Broadway.

Disney Headline News

Animator Harry Holt Passes Away

Disney and Hanna-Barbera animtor Harry Holt passed away April 14, 2004. He was 93 years old.

Holt first went to work at Disney in 1936 during the hiring ramp up for production on SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. Trained at the studio, he started out as an apprentice and worked his way helping develop the feature. He would later help design scenes for LADY AND THE TRAMP.

After 20 years at Disney, he moved to Chicago to work in television production and art direction. Later he joined HB, where he worked on THE FLINTSTONES and TOM AND JERRY.

Home Headline News

Gigantor Creator Dies After Fire in Home

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.

Film Headline News

Legendary Animation Educator Moritz Passes Away

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.

Headline News

Voice actor Tony Pope Silenced at 56

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.

Headline News

Brother Bear Voice Actor Raize Dies

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 11, 2004 at 12:00am

Stage and voice actor Jason Raise died last week of an apparent suicide in Yass, Australia, reported 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.

Headline News

Captain Kangaroo Passes Away

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.

Headline News

Mad Mag Illustrator Woodbridge Passes Away

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.

College Headline News

Columbia College Loses Head of Semester In L.A. Instructor

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.

Headline News

Visual Effects Supervisor Guy Hudson Dies

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.