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Category: In Passing

Headline News Snuffy Smith Cartoonist Passes

Fred Lasswell, the cartoonist behind SNUFFY SMITH for the past 60 years, passed away on Sunday, March 4 at his home in Tampa, Florida. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. He was 84 years old. He continued to work on the SNUFFY strip up until his death, leaving behind 49 unpublished cartoons. In 1934, Lasswell became an assistant to cartoonist Billy DeBeck, creator of TAKE BARNEY GOOGLE, FOR INSTANCE and SNUFFY. Lasswell took over SNUFFY in 1942 after DeBeck's death. He would focus his career on the Smith character, a card-playing, moonshine-making hillbilly from Hootin' Holler.

Headline News Indie Animator Alison de Vere Has Passed Away

Alison de Vere, the creator of THE BLACK DOG and MR. PASCAL, has passed away. She was 73 years old. Her first regular industry job was with the Halas and Batchelor Studio, which she started in 1951, as a background designer on public relations films. In 1957 she became the head of the Guild Television Services' animation unit. There she directed and designed TV commercials. In 1960 she made her first independent film entitled TWO FACES, based on some of her poetry. She joined TVC in 1967 as design director for YELLOW SUBMARINE. One can catch a cameo of de Vere in the Eleanor Rigby sequence.

Headline News Schoolhouse Rock Co-Creator Passes

Thomas G. Yohe, co-creator of the classic interstitials "Schoolhouse Rock," passed away on Thursday, December 21, 2000. Yohe had pancreatic cancer and was 63 years old. Yohe and partner George Newall produced 40 editions of "Schoolhouse Rock" from 1973-1985. The three-minute musical lessons aired between cartoons on ABC's Saturday Morning line-up. A revival of the series came in the early 1990s when new episodes where commissioned and current alternative bands covered the series' songs for a tribute album.

Headline News Superman Publisher Liebowitz Passes

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 13, 2000 at 12:00am

Jack S. Liebowitz, the comic book publisher who first brought Superman to the page, passed away on Monday, December 11 at his home in Great Neck, New York. He was 100 years old. Liebowitz immigrated to New York in 1910 from his birthplace in Proskurov, Ukraine. He and his partner, former pulp magazine publisher Harry Donenfeld, started publishing the series DETECTIVE COMICS in 1937. This title was the first successful comic centering on one theme. The series later provided the name for the company DC Comics.

Headline News Flintstones/Jetsons' Composer Curtin Passes

Hoyt Curtin, composer for classic cartoons from UPA and Hanna-Barbera, passed away Sunday, December 10, 2000 at his Southern California home. Curtin was 78-years-old. In November, Curtin won the ASIFA-Hollywood Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement, but was too ill to attend the ceremony. He started his career writing commercial jingles and a few tunes for UPA's MR. MAGOO. From the late 1950s through the early 1990s, Curtin worked on many famous Hanna-Barbera cartoons. He composed the themes for such series as THE FLINTSTONES, TOP CAT, THE JETSONS and JONNY QUEST.

Headline News Popeye/Flintstones Animator Passes

Jack Ozark, animator and newspaper sports cartoonist, died on November 16, 2000. He was 82-years-old. In 1931, Ozark started his career at the Fleischer Studios, animating on POPEYE, BETTY BOOP and GULLIVER'S TRAVELS. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and afterward moved to Los Angeles to work on the early Hanna-Barbera shows YOGI BEAR, FLINTSTONES and TOP CAT. He specialized in animating Snagglepuss and Wally Gator. He finished out his career at Filmation on HE-MAN and SHE-RA until his retirement in 1987. He was awarded the L.A. Cartoonists' Union 839 Golden Award in 1992.

Headline News Soviet Animator Kotenochkin Dies

Soviet animator Vyacheslav Kotenochkin, creator of the world-famous slapstick cartoon NU, POGODI, died on November 20, 2000 after a battle with a long illness. He was 74-years-old. NU, POGODI, which screened in theaters around the globe, chronicled the misadventures of a hungry, dimwitted wolf that constantly chased a wide-eye rabbit. The Roadrunner-esque cartoons always ended with the wolf shouting, "Nu, pogodi!

Headline News Annecy Fest President Passes

Pierre Jacquier, who served as president of the Annecy Festival from 1977 to 1984, has passed away after a long illness. Jacquier was instrumental in the festival's growth and helped push the festival toward highlighting cutting-edge work in animation. Along with Nicole Salomon, Jacquier also helped establish the festival's market. In addition to his festival duties, he was a board member of the Annecy Town Council. AWN's Annick Teninge, former assistant director of Annecy, said, "I always admired his long-term vision, his dedication to the festival and his immense cultural appreciation.

Headline News UPA Co-Founder Hurtz Passes

One of the founders of the UPA animation studio, William Hurtz, has passed away. He was 81 years old. Hurtz started his career at Disney in 1938 as an assistant. He assisted Art Babbitt on FANTASIA's "Mushroom Dance Sequence." Hurtz was an active member of the Hollywood Cartoonists' Union and made the motion to strike at Disney in 1941. Hurtz spent the war years at the Film Motion Picture Unit. FMPU was stationed in Culver City as part of the U.S. Army Signal Corps under Major Rudy Ising of Harmon & Ising fame. Throughout World War II they did training cartoons for overseas servicemen.

Headline News Donald Duck Cartoonist Carl Barks Dies

On Friday, August 25, 2000, cartoonist Carl Barks, who reinvented the fowl-mouthed Donald Duck into an endearing Everyman on the comic book page, passed away. He died at his home in southern Oregon of leukemia. He was 99 years old. Barks started his association with the Walt Disney Co. in the early 1930s as an in-betweener and then moved over to the story department to write gags for many of the early Donald Duck cartoons. In 1943, he moved over to Western Publishing, which published Walt Disney comic books, to draw the Donald Duck segments for WALT DISNEY COMICS & STORIES.

Headline News Disney Animator and Game Pioneer, Gene Portwood Jr. Passes

Raymond Eugene "Gene" Portwood Jr., a one-time Disney animator and the co-creator of the ground breaking computer game, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SANDIEGO?, has passed. On July 17, 2000, Portwood died of a heart attack in the Windsor, California convalescent center, where he was staying to recover from a stroke 18 months earlier. He was 66 years old. In 1950, Portwood skipped college and went directly to work at Disney. He eventually helped draw scenes for LADY AND THE TRAMP, SLEEPING BEAUTY and CAPTAIN HOOK.

Headline News Eyvind Earle, Disney Artist & Painter Passes

Best known for his work on SLEEPLING BEAUTY and LADY AND THE TRAMP, Eyvind Earle, creator of eclectic backgrounds for Disney cartoons, has passed away. He was 84 years old. Earle succumbed to esophageal cancer on Thursday, July 20, 2000. The 1953 Academy Award and Cannes Film Festival winning short film, TOOT, WHISTLE, PLUNK AND BOOM, is the film that made people truly notice Earles artwork. His other toon credits include PETER PAN, FOR WHOM THE BULLS TOIL, WORKING FOR PEANUTS, PIGS IS PIGS and PAUL BUNYAN.

Headline News Shoe Comic Strip Creator Passes

On Thursday, June 8, 2000, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winning creator of the comic strip SHOE, Jeff MacNelly passed away. He died at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, succumbing to lymphoma, which he has been fighting since late last year. In 1972 at the age of 24, MacNelly won the Pulitzer for one of his political cartoons for the RICHMOND NEW LEADER. He had been working there for only 16 months. Before leaving the NEW LEADER in 1982, he received his second Pulitzer Prize in 1978.

Headline News Warner Bros. Director Arthur Davis Passes

Warner Bros. cartoon director Art Davis passed away on May 9, 2000 at 3 pm. An underrated and overlooked director of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, Davis directed many Daffy Duck and Porky Pig cartoons in his tenure. He directed one classic Bugs Bunny toon in 1949 called BOWERY BUGS. Davis started his animation career in 1921 and is credited with being the industry's first in-betweener. Davis took over the Clampett unit as director in 1945. After his unit was dissolved in 1948, he continued on as an animator and story man in the Freleng unit until the studio closed.

Headline News Van Goethem Unexpectedly Passes

On Friday, March 3, 2000, Belgian animation film director and illustrator Nicole van Goethem passed away unexpectedly at the age of 58 in her hometown of Antwerp. The cause of death is unknown. Since 1974, Nicole van Goethem has worked on various animation productions, serving in the background, color selection and special effects fields. Among her credits, she participated in the feature length film TARZOON produced by Picha.

Headline News Voice Of Slinky Dog, Jim Varney, Dies

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 16, 2000 at 12:00am

Jim Varney, the comic who most recently provided the voice of Slinky Dog in

TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2, died on Thursday, February 10, 2000 at his

Tennessee home of lung cancer. He was 50 years old. Best known for his

Ernest character in commercials, television and films, Varney also provided

voice over work for characters on the THE SIMPSONS. Varney was the star of

several Disney Ernest films, most notably ERNEST GOES TO CAMP and ERNEST

SAVES CHRISTMAS. Doctors diagnosed Varney with cancer in August 1998, and

Headline News Much Grief, Charles Schulz Passes

On the eve of the final PEANUTS comic strip, creator Charles Schulz died of

a heart attack at his Santa Rosa, California home. He was 77 years old. As

reported [AF 11/21/99], Charles Schulz had decided to retire from drawing

his weekly comic strip after several strokes and newly diagnosed cancer had

left him partially blind in one eye and too weak to keep up with the

rigorous routine. A private funeral will be held later this week. He is

survived by his wife, Jeannie; two sons Monte and Craig; and daughter Jill

Headline News Disney TV's Pioneer Webster Passes

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 2, 2000 at 12:00am

Michael Webster, who established Walt Disney's television animation

division in 1984, passed away at the age 60 following a long battle with

multiple sclerosis. On Saturday, January 29, 2000, Mr. Webster succumbed to

complications from pneumonia at his home in Port Townsend, Washington,

U.S.A. During his 42 year tenure, Webster created the Walt Disney

Television Animation division and served as its senior VP until his

retirement in 1992. He oversaw production of the Emmy-winning NEW

Headline News Disney's Legendary Marc Davis Dies

On Wednesday, January 12, 2000, Walt Disney's legendary animator Marc Davis

passed away at Glendale Memorial Hospital shortly following a stroke. He

was 86 years old. Davis was a member of Disney's inner circle known as the

"nine old men." During his 43-year tenure at the studio, Davis brought to

life such classic characters as Bambi, Cinderella, Alice, Briar Rose,

Maleficent and Cruella DeVil. In addition to creating many of Disney's

female characters, he served as a key player in the development of many of

Headline News MAD Mag's Martin Dies

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, January 12, 2000 at 12:00am

For over thirty years, Don Martin's crazy comics filled the pages of MAD

magazine. On Sunday, January 9, 2000, Marin died in a Miami hospital at the

age of 68. A representative of Baptist Hospital says the cartoonist died of

cancer. No further details were disclosed. Martin's weirdo humor disgusted

mothers and delighted young rebels for nearly three decades. No person or

tale was free from Martin's eye for twisted satire. For example, his strips

Headline News In Memory of Darris Dobbs

Darris Dobbs, a well known and respected 3D/CGI writer and artist, died

peacefully at home on November 24, 1999, never having recovered from a

respiratory virus. He was 37. Darris contributed to Visual Magic Magazine

on a number of occasions, as well as writing a number of books for Charles

River Media Publishing (including ANIMATING FACIAL FEATURES AND

EXPRESSIONS, and the recently published TRUESPACE 3 & 4 CREATURE

CREATIONS). He also founded his own business -- HieroglyFX Design -- a

Headline News Stop-motion animator David Allen passes away

David Allen, one of a handful of truly great stop-motion animators, died of cancer on Monday, August 16. Hewas 55. Allen's work in commercials includes animating the Swiss Miss andearly Pillsbury Doughboy in the 1960s, and his feature work includesCAVEMAN (1981), Q-THE WINGED SERPENT (1982), WILLOW (1988) and FREAKED(1993). For ten years he had been working on an independent project, afeature called PRIMEVALS. (The film will be finished at Full Moon Studioswhere the film was being animated before Allen's death.) Allen began his

Headline News DeForest Kelley, STAR TREK's "Bones" McCoy, dies

Actor DeForest Kelley, STAR TREK's Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy died Friday,June 10 after an extended illness. Kelley, born January 20, 1920, inAtlanta, Georgia, US, played supporting roles in a number of movies,including THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT (1956); GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K.CORRAL (1957), RAINTREE COUNTY (1957), and APACHE UPRISING (1966). STARTREK creator and producer Gene Roddenberry had wanted Kelley to play thedoctor in STAR TREK from the get-go, having worked with him previously on

Headline News DUMBO author dies

Helen Aberson Mayer, co-author with Harold Perl of "Dumbo, the FlyingElephant," the children's book that inspired the 1941 Walt Disney animatedfeature, DUMBO, died April 3, 1999 in her Manhattan home. She was 92. Bornin Syracuse, New York in 1907, Mayer, who was known as Helen Aberson whenshe wrote "Dumbo," moved from Syracuse, to Los Angeles, California in 1939at the request of the Walt Disney Company.

In her story, Dumbo the baby elephant is teased for his oversized ears, but

Headline News Elfriede Fischinger dies

Elfriede Fischinger died quietly in her sleep at her home on Thursday, May13, 1999. She was born September 17, 1910, in Gelnhausen near Frankfurt,Germany. She attended the prestigious College of Design in Offenbach, andin 1931 one of her abstract textile designs won a prize and was publishedin a magazine as well as exhibited in Berlin, where she met her futurehusband, animator and painter Oskar Fischinger. They were married in 1933and she worked on many of his subsequent films. In 1936 they emigrated to

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