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Category: In Passing

Headline News Oliver Postgate Dies at 83

Oliver Postgate, 83, died Monday near London. Postgate was best known for the British children's television animation he made with Peter Firmin in the 1960s and 1970s.

Postgate and Firmin first created IVOR THE ENGINE, followed by THE SAGA OF NOGGIN THE NOG, BAGPUSS and THE CLANGERS. Bagpuss, the "saggy old cloth cat," became an overnight licensing phenomenon nearly 20 years later, after being voted the top children's series of all time. Bagpuss and Clangers toys became firm favorites with original fans of the characters and a new generation.

Headline News ASIFA U.K.'s Pat Raine Webb Passes Away

ASIFA U.K. President Pat Raine Webb died Friday. Webb was an AWN contributor, animation festival regular, freelance researcher, writer and programmer in animated film with more than 30 years in the animation industry.

Webb passed away on Friday on a London bus of a severe heart attack, and is survived by her longtime companion Margot Grimwood.

Headline News n-Space President Erick Dyke Passes Away

On November 10, Erick S. Dyke, 41, died of complications arising after a battle with cancer. Dyke was the president and co-founder of Orlando, Florida based video game company n-Space.

Over n-Space's 14-year history Dyke served as its president, and together with his partner Dan O'Leary, created numerous hit video game titles, including CALL OF DUTY (DS), RUGRATS (PS and PS2), STAR WARS (DS), and MARY KATE & ASHLEY. Dyke was also involved in the creation and marketing of the company's original games, including TIGERSHARK (PC) and GEIST (Gamecube).

Headline News Animation Writer Emru Townsend Dies

After a battle with leukemia, animation writer and blogger Emru Townsend has passed away. A post from his sister Tamu on said he died peacefully surrounded by family Tuesday night.

Townsend was diagnosed less than a year ago with leukemia, and a condition called monosomy 7. He turned from writing about technology, animation and pop culture to his fight with the disease. While needing a bone marrow transplant himself, Townsend worked to raise awareness about the need for donors, especially in minority groups.

Headline News Jurassic Park Author Michael Crichton Dies

Bestselling author Michael Crichton, who wrote thrillers JURASSIC PARK, TIMELINE and THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, has died at age 66, reports the ASSOCIATED PRESS.

His family said he succumbed Tuesday in Los Angeles at age 66 after a private battle against cancer.

"Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand," his family said in a statement.

Headline News Sesame Workshop Producer Arlene Sherman Passes Away

Longtime Sesame Workshop producer Arlene Sherman has died. Sherman spent more than 30 years with the organization, starting out as a Production Coordinator and moving up to Co-Executive Producer for SESAME STREET.

Headline News Studio B Producer Pimm Dies

Earlier this week, Studio B lost producer Richard Pimm, who passed away on September 24, 2008. Pimm, 60, was a known animation producer throughout Canada and the world.

For more than 30 years, Pimm worked for many of the world's leading animation companies, including Nelvana, Disney and Lucasfilm. He also spent 12 years working as an overseas supervisor in Korea, Taiwan, China, Wales, Thailand and the Philippines, where he was the General Manager for Toon City.

Headline News Peanuts Animator and Director Bill Melendez Dies at 91

Bill Melendez, considered a pioneer in animation and best known for bringing the PEANUTS characters to life, died early Tuesday morning September 2 at St. John's hospital in Santa Monica, California. He was 91.

With his trade mark handle bar mustache, Melendez was a talent whose unique style and distinct sense of humor inspired a generation.

Melendez began his career at Walt Disney Studios. As a young animator he worked on PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA, BAMBI, DUMBO and classic Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons.

Headline News Former Animation Studio Head Morris Sullivan Dies

Morris Sullivan, who helped establish the Irish animation studio responsible for AN AMERICAN TAIL and THE LAND BEFORE TIME, has died in Toluca Lake, California at age 91, according to a LOS ANGELES TIMES obituary.

Sullivan ran a financial consulting firm before he helped found Sullivan Bluth Studios in 1985 with Don Bluth and other former Disney animators, who had produced several shorts and the feature THE SECRET OF NIMH but went bankrupt in 1984. Sullivan Bluth produced AN AMERICAN TAIL in 1986, and the studio was moved to Ireland to produce films more cost-efficiently.

Headline News Ex-WB Voice Actor Greg Burson Dies At 59

Voice actor Greg Burson, who once was the main replacement voice on Bugs Bunny and other characters voiced by Mel Blanc, died July 22 at age 59, according to THE BIG CARTOON FORUM.

His death was due to complications from diabetes and arteriosclerosis. However, "obviously, drinking had a lot to do with it," according to Mark Evanier, who directed Burson in three TV series.

Headline News First Female Disney Imagineer Dies

Harriet Burns, the first woman designer hired at Walt Disney Imagineering, has died at 79, according to a LOS ANGELES TIMES obituary. Burns helped create and build prototypes for Disneyland attractions like the SLEEPING BEAUTY CASTLE and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

Burns, a Santa Barbara, California resident, died of complications from a heart condition July 25 at USC University Hospital, said her daughter, Pam Burns-Clair.

Headline News Big Bird Costume Creator Dies

Costume designer Kermit Love, who helped puppeteer Jim Henson create Big Bird and other SESAME STREET, has died at age 91, per the ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Love died from congestive heart failure Saturday in Poughkeepsie, near his home in Stanfordville, New York, Love's longtime partner, Christopher Lyall, told THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Headline News Oscar-Winning VFX Artist Stan Winston Dies

News outlets are reporting Stan Winston, who won three vfx effects Oscars over the course of his career, is dead at age 62.

Per the LOS ANGELES TIMES, Winston died at his home Sunday evening after a seven-year struggle with multiple myeloma, according to a spokeswoman from Stan Winston Studios.

"Stan died peacefully at home surrounded by family," a spokeswoman said.

Headline News Comic Actor Harvey Korman Dies

Comedian and voice actor Harvey Korman, 81, died Thursday, media outlets are reporting.

Korman, who voiced The Great Gazoo on THE FLINTSTONES, as well as dozens of guest voices on animated shows in his 47 year career, died at UCLA Medical Center after suffering complications from the rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm four months ago, his family said. He had undergone several major operations, according to the ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Headline News Children's TV Creator Dies Unexpectedly

Pineapple Squared Ent's Creative Director David Mitton died from a sudden heart attack last week. At the time of his death Mitton was overseeing a number of Pineapple Squared's projects including the animated epic for boys, ADVENTURES ON ORSUM ISLAND.

Television industry stalwart Mitton worked for the THUNDERBIRDS creator Gerry Anderson in the 1960s as a special effects floor technician on THUNDERBIRDS. It was there that he met Pineapple Squared's Supervising Director David Lane.

Headline News Hazel Comic Strip Creator Ted Key Dies

The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that cartoonist Ted Key, creator of the comic strip HAZEL, has died at the age of 95.

Key's son, Peter Key confirmed to the AP that Key died at his home on Saturday in the Philadelphia suburb of Tredyffrin Township after a 1 1/2-year battle with cancer.

HAZEL, about a bossy maid, debuted in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST in 1943 and evolved into a primetime TV series starring Shirley Booth in the 1960s on NBC and CBS.

Headline News Animator And Director Andy Knight Dies

Veteran animator and director Andy Knight died last week, according to Cartoon Brew and several other blog sites.

Knight, 46, died of a stroke on April 10. He co-founded Toronto animation studio Red Rover in 1994 and had an extensive career in Europe and Canada.

A Facebook page has been set up to collect memories of Knight from his friends and family.

Headline News Disney Legend Ollie Johnston Dies

Ollie Johnston, the last surviving animator of Disney's famed Nine Old Men, passed away April 14, 2008. Johnston worked for the Mouse House from 1935 to 1978, working as an animator on such classics as SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, FANTASIA, BAMBI and PINOCCHIO. He last worked on THE RESCUERS, a film for which he was caricatured as the cat Rufus.

Headline News Pixar Storyboard Artist Dies at Age 27

Several blog sites are reporting that Justin Wright, who had been with Pixar in the story department for just more than a year, has died at age 27 from a heart attack.

His Pacific Union College alumni profile details Wright's journey to Pixar and his ultimately life-ending struggle with heart problems on Tuesday evening.

While in the hospital revering from a heart transplant at age 12, Wright drew pictures, something his doctor at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital took note of, and took him on a Pixar tour.

Headline News The Rocketeer Creator Dies

THE ROCKETEER creator Dave Stevens passed away on March 10, 2008, from complications due to leukemia. He was 52 years old. The comic book illustrator's style captured the good girl quality of 1950s pin-ups.

Stevens began his career working on newspaper comic strips, including TARZAN OF THE APES and STAR WARS. For Hanna-Barbera, Stevens storyboarded such series as JANA OF THE JUNGLE and SUPER FRIENDS.

Headline News Steve Gerber Passes Away

Steve Gerber, creator of Howard the Duck, passed away Sunday at the age of 60 in Las Vegas.

The comics legend lived in Los Angeles for more than 20 years, but lost his battle to pulmonary fibrosis in a Las Vegas hospital.

His friend Mark Evanier posted the news Monday on Gerbers blog (, just a week after Gerber himself had reported on his work on a new Doctor Fate book.

Headline News Disney Background Artist Brice Mack Passes Away

Brice Mack, who painted animation backgrounds for Walt Disney in the '30s, '40s and '50s and subsequently produced and directed commercials and films, died Jan. 2nd in Hollywood, California. He was 90.

Mack painted backgrounds for SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, PINOCCHIO, FANTASIA, SONG OF THE SOUTH, CINDERELLA, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, PETER PAN and LADY AND THE TRAMP, among others. He also painted backgrounds for many shorts, including the 1942 Academy Award-winning LEND A PAW.