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Category: In Passing

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

Headline News Schoolhouse Rock creator David McCall dies

David McCall, creator of Schoohouse Rock, died April 18th in a car accidentnear Kukes, Albania, along with his wife, Penny, and RefugeesInternational's European representative Yvette Pierpaoli and the car'sAlbanian driver. The McCalls were en route from Tirana to Kukes, theprimary reception point for Kosovar refugees. They were on a mission forRefugees International, the Washington, D.C.-based organization on whoseboard Mr. and Mrs. McCall served. Part of the mission was to explore

Headline News Jean Vander Pyl, voice of Wilma Flintstone, dies

Jean Vander Pyl, who was best known as the voice of Wilma Flinstone onHanna-Barbera's THE FLINTSTONES TV series, died Saturday, April 10 at herhome in Dana Point. She was 79.

Although born in Philadelphia, she moved to Los Angeles while still ateenager and attended Beverly Hills High and UCLA. Her career began as aradio performer for several radio series including AMOS AND ANDY, LUX RADIOTHEATRE, STUDIO ONE, and FATHER KNOWS BEST.

In the late 1950's, she began doing voice work for Hanna-Barbera, and

Headline News Pink Panther Designer Dies

Legendary Warner Bros. layout artist, Hawley Pratt, who worked predominantly under the direction of Friz Freleng, passed away March 4 at the age of 87. He was raised in New York City and ironically graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the 1930s, Pratt became an artist at Walt Disney Studios but soon found himself at Warners where he worked on all of Freleng's Oscar-winning cartoons including TWEETY PIE, SPEEDY GONZALEZ and BIRDS ANONYMOUS, and was nominated for an Oscar as director of the 1966 DePatie-Freleng short, THE PINK BLUEPRINT.

Headline News Artist John McGrew passes away

John McGrew, a layout artist for Chuck Jones Warner Bros. unit from 1938 to 1943, passed away on January 11, 1999 in France at the age of 88. McGrews contributions to the artform are often overlooked because of the short time he spent in the business, but his layouts and color stylings for THE DOVER BOYS, THE ARISTO-CAT, CONRAD THE SAILOR and SUPER RABBIT, among others films, were groundbreaking and revolutionary for their time. Chuck Jones has often said in interviews that McGrew helped introduce a more abstract and design-influenced background style.

Headline News Animation artist/producer Herb Klynn dies

By Amid Amidi | Sunday, February 14, 1999 at 12:00am

Herbert "Herb" Klynn, a pioneer in motion picture and television animation, passed away on February 3 at the age of 81. Combining graphic design and artistic talents, he worked at UPA from 1944 to 1959 on classic characters like Mr. Magoo, Madeline and Gerald McBoing-Boing, eventually rising to become the studio's Vice President and Production Chief. In 1959, he founded Format Productions with Jules Engel and was responsible for the creation of such popular animation series as THE ALVIN SHOW, THE LONE RANGER, and THE CURIOSITY SHOP, a collaboration with director Chuck Jones.

Headline News Barbarella creator, Jean-Claude Forest, dies

By Amid Amidi | Monday, January 11, 1999 at 12:00am

Jean-Claude Forest, who created the provocative sci-fi comic strip character Barbarella and designed sets for the '60s movie starring Jane Fonda, passed away December 30, 1998 at the age of 68. Forest created the seductive 41st century adventurer in 1962 originally appearing in V Magazine. The cult favorite Roger Vadim-directed movie released in June 1968, "Barbarella," secured her place in fandom history.

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