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Animator Hill Murdered in New Orleans Home

Independent filmmaker, Helen Hill, was shot to death in her New Orleans home on Jan. 4, 2007, reports ASSOCIATED PRESS. Hill's husband, physician Dr. Paul Gailiunas, was also injured in the attack. The couple had moved to the Faubourg Marigny area following the destruction of their home in the Mid-City section of the city as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Police report that both were shot at their front door at approximately 5:30 am. No other details were made available.

Animation Headline News

Animation Promoter Prescott Wright Passes Away at 71

Prescott Wright, a founder of the ASIFA-San Francisco Chapter, producer of the Tournee Of Animation for many years and a founder of the Ottawa Animation Festival passed away on Dec. 28, 2006, at a hospital in Albuquerque at the age of 71, reports Karl Cohen, animation professor/historian and president of ASIFA-SF.

He had been in slow decline for several years with Picks Disease, a form of dementia related to Alzheimers.

Headline News

Batman Toon Composer Shirley Walker Passes

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, December 27, 2006 at 12:00am

Shirley Walker, Emmy-winning composer and orchestrator, passed away on Nov. 30, 2006, reports THE L.A. TIMES. She was 61. Walker died from complications after a stroke in Reno, Nevada.

As a woman, Walker stood out in the world of movie composing, where females number less than 5%.

She won her two Emmys for her work as music director on THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN & ROBIN in 1996 and BATMAN BEYOND in 2001. She made her first foray into scoring for animation on BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES.

Animation Headline News

Animation Legend Joe Barbera Dies at 95

The other shoe has fallen. Joseph Barbera, co-founder of Hanna-Barbera and co-creator of such favorite animation characters as Huckleberry Hound, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, ScoobyDoo and The Jetsons, died of natural causes at his home with his wife, Sheila, at his side, in Studio City, California, on Dec. 18, 2007, according to Warner Bros. spokesman Gary Miereanu.

Series Headline News

Ivor the Engine Actor Dies

Actor Anthony Jackson, who provided many voices for Britain's IVOR THE ENGINE animated series, died Nov. 26, 2006, in London of cancer, according to the Big Cartoon Database. He was 62.

Born in Birmingham on Feb. 18, 1944, Jackson voiced Dai Station, Evans the Song and Mr. Dinwiddy on IVOR THE ENGINE, which debuted with six episodes in 1958. He reprised the same roles when the series was remade in color in 1975.

Animation Headline News

Animation Vet Bonnell Passes Away at 58

Second-generation animation vet Nicolette "Nicki" Bonnell, who worked at Hanna-Barbera, Bakshi and Disney from 1966 to 2002, died Nov. 1, 2006, reports She was 58.

Born on July 4, 1948 in Los Angeles, Bonnell was a cel painter, Xerox checker and animation checker. Her feature credits included TREASURE PLANET (2002), HOME ON THE RANGE (2004), ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE (2001), FANTASIA 2000 (2000), THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE (2000), TARZAN (1999), HERCULES (1997), THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996) and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991).

Headline News

Dudley Do-Right Creator Dies

Emmy Award-winning writer Chris Hayward, who is best known in the world of animation as the creator of Dudley Do-right, died, after battling a long disease, on Nov. 20, 2006, in Beverly Hills, reports VARIETY. He was 81.

Hayward started his writing career on Jay Ward's CRUSADER RABBIT, which turned into a staff writing gig at Jay Ward Prods. He wrote for ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS and THE BULLWINKLE SHOW, which is where dimwitted Canadian Mountie Dudley Do-Right got his start.

Headline News

Baby Huey Voice Actor Sid Raymond Dies

Actor/comedian Sid Raymond, the voice of Baby Huey and Katnip, died, reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. He was 97.

In addition to his lead characters for Famous Studios cartoons, his other cartoon work included: Little John in the Popeye cartoon ROBIN HOOD-WINKED, the Hungry Lion in PLEASED TO EAT YOU, Ali and the Third Thief in POPEYE MAKES A MOVIE, various Martians in POPEYE, THE ACE OF SPACE, Jerry Lewis in POPEYE'S 20TH ANNIVERSARY and the narrator in SPORTICKLES.

Headline News

Ojarumaru Creator Dies of Apparent Suicide

Creator of long-running Japanese children's cartoon series OJARUMARU, Rin Inumaru, has apparently committed suicide by jumping off the roof of a 14-story apartment building in Tokyo, various news sources have reported. Police have informed the press that Inumaru left suicide notes to her mother, expressing trouble with her work.

The 48-year-old cartoonist leapt from the roof on Sept. 10, 2006, landing on the roof of a five-story building below. She died of her injury shortly after the fall.

Headline News

Animator Jan Svochak Passes on at 80

Animator Jan Svochak died of lung cancer Sept. 6, 2006, in Florida at the age of 80. J. J. Sedelmaier (J.J. Sedelmaier Prods.) relates, "Most people know Jan's work from the years he put in on the Hawaiian Punch campaign. He was the head animator from the '60s up to the early '90s.

Disney Headline News

Animation Legend Ed Benedict Dies

Animation legend Ed Benedict passed away in his sleep on Aug. 28, 2006. He was 94.

In 1930, Benedict began his animation career at Disney, working on such shorts as THE CHINA PLATE and BLUE RHYTHM. Benedict left Disney and moved to Universal to work on Walter Lantzs OSWALD shorts, beginning with THE DIZZY DWARF. Universal would remain his home for most of the 1930s, minus short periods at the Charles Mintz Studio and the time he formed his own studio, Benedict-Brewer, with Jerry Brewer.

Headline News

Emmy-Nominated Voice-Actor Tony Jay Passes Away

Deep-voiced actor Tony Jay, whose many roles included villainous Judge Frollo in Disney's 1996 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, died Sunday following microsurgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor from his lungs.

The British-born Jay, who provided voices in many videogames, was admitted to Cedar Sinai Hospital in April and had begun to recover both his breathing and mobility.

Headline News

VO Actor Peter Hawkins Passes Away

Peter Hawkins, a British actor who voiced characters that ranged from THE FLOWERPOT MEN to the sinister Daleks on DR. WHO, has died, reports various news outlets. He was 82.

Hawkins started as a stage actor after his World War II service in the Navy. After working in conventional roles on TV, he moved into voice over in the 1950s on the children's puppet shows THE FLOWERPOT MEN, which featured two creatures with legs made from flower pots.

Series Headline News

Voice Actor Lennie "Pufnstuf" Weinrib Dies at 71

Voice actor Lennie Weinrib, whose most famed role was as the title character in the 1969 live-action series, H.R. PUFNSTUF (which he also co-wrote), died June 28, 2006, at his home in Chile. He was 71 years old.

For his animation career, Weinrib provided the voice for Scooby's impetuous nephew Scrappy-Doo in SCOOBY-DOO AND SCRAPPY-DOO (1979) and THE SCOOBY AND SCRAPPY-DOO PUPPY HOUR (1982). He was also in the voice cast of the first Scooby series, SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! (1969) and THE NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES (1972).

Animation Headline News

I&P Artist Suzi Dalton Passes Away at 95

Ink-and-paint artist Suzi Dalton died April 10, 2006, at the age of 95, The Animation Guild website reports. She received a Golden Award from The Animation Guild Local 839 in 1985, for her then 50 years in her craft.

From 1934, until her retirement in 1973, she worked as an inker, drybrush artist and final checker for numerous studios, including Boyd LaVero, Mintz, Warners, Iwerks, MGM, Betty Brenon, Lantz, Snowball, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, Celine Miles, Bakshi-Krantz and Cannawest.

Animation Headline News

Assistant Animator Kimie Calvert Dies

Assistant animator Kimie Calvert, the wife of director and producer Fred Calvert, has passed away. The Animation Guild Local 839 just reported her passing, which was on Dec. 23, 2005.

With a career spanning from 1956 until 2003, Calvert worked for Filmfair, Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Fred Calvert, Rich Animation, Baer Animation, Warner Bros., Amblimation, Hyperion and Calvert-Cobbler.

She was an animator for the Disney feature THE TIGGER MOVIE (2000).

Comics Headline News

Alex Toth Dies at 77

Comicbook and animation maverick Alex Toth died May 27 at his drawing table at home in Burbank, reported THE L.A. TIMES. He was 77.

"For 50 years he did what he wanted to do smoke cigarettes, sit on the couch and draw," his daughter Dana Palmer said. "But in his final year there was such a great spirit in him, and he had made peace with everybody on Earth that he needed to make peace with."

Toth is best known for his character designs for such Hanna-Barbera productions as SUPERFRIENDS, SPACE GHOST and HERCULOIDS.

Headline News

CG Pioneer Bill Kovacs Passes Away

Bill Kovacs, who co-founded Wavefront Technologies, earned a 1997 Academy Award for science and engineering innovations and who worked as a programmer on TRON, passed away last Tuesday at his home in Camarillo, California. Kovacs, who was 56, died of a stroke in his sleep brought on by a cerebral hemorrhage.

Effects Headline News

Bluescreen Developer Arthur Widmer Dies at 92

Arthur Widmer, who developed some of the most widely used visual effects technology in films, including the bluescreen, and earned an Academy Award last year for lifetime achievement, died of cancer on May 28. He was 92.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave Widmer the award for his work in developing Ultra Violet and bluescreen effects processes.

Headline News

Animation Producer Edward Herskovitz Dies

Veteran animation producer Edward Herskovitz died May 22, 2006, at his home in Rishon Le'Zion, Israel. He was 85.

Herskovitz worked as an animation producer in Japan during the 1970s. He was one of the founding members of ASIFA-Japan. He collaborated on many international co-productions, making France his second home.

He was born in Egypt in 1921, after his parents moved there when WWI reached what later became Israel. He joined a traveling circus in his youth, eventually settling down in Japan. After a stroke, he moved to Israel.

Series Headline News

H-B Writer/Producer Harvey Bullock Passes Away

Harvey Bullock, a prolific comedy writer and producer of film and TV, has passed away. Affected by a series of age-related illnesses, he died on Sunday, April 23, 2006, in Laguna Beach, California, with his family by his side. He was 84.

Bullock worked in animation on several Hanna-Barbera series. He was a writer on THE FLINTSTONES, THE JETSONS, TOP CAT, WELCOME TO IT and WHERE'S HUDDLES? He was the creator, exec producer and writer for the classic 1970s adult animated series, WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME.

Film Headline News

Famous Czech Documentarist/Animator Pavel Koutecky Dies

Renowned Czech documentary filmmaker Pavel Koutecky died after falling from a high building under construction in the Prague-Pankrac neighborhood while filming is latest film, reports the public Czech Television (CT). He was 49.

The police spokesman told CT that Koutecky had been reported missing since Friday (April 14, 2006) night. Script editor Alena Muellerova said that Koutecky was shooting a documentary about a young man who climbs high buildings.

Series Headline News

Animation Director Brad Case Dies

Animator/director Brad Case died March 19, 2006. He was 93.

His career spanned from 1934 until his retirement in 1999, having worked for Iwerks, Disney, MGM, Lantz, Raphael Wolff, Sutherland, Paul Fennell, Tempo, Calvin Co., Academy, ERA Prods., Hanna-Barbera, Larry Harmon, UPA, Warner Bros., Nicholson, Sanrio, DePatie-Freleng, Marvel, Graz Ent. and New World.

Headline News

Voice Actor Papenbrook Passes Away

Voice actor Bob Papenbrook passed away on March 17, 2006, due to complications from a chronic lung condition, reports He was 50 years old. Papenbrook (sometimes credited as "John Smallberries") was a frequent performer in a voice acting roles, including POWER RANGERS ZEO, TENCHI MUYO and GUNGRAVE. Extensively working on dubbing anime imports, his most recent work can be heard as Capt. Blue in the VIEWTIFUL JOE TV series. He is survived by his wife Debbie Rothstein and son Bryce Papenbrook.

Disney Headline News

Richard Fleischer, Director of 20,000 Leagues, Dies

Richard Fleischer, who directed almost 50 movies, died of natural causes on March 25, 2006, at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, said his son Mark. He was 89.

Son of famed animator Max Fleischer, he would direct 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA for Walt Disney, whose named was not spoken in their home. Max told his son that the opportunity was too important to pass up.

The lavishly produced 1954 live-action adaptation of the Jules Verne adventure was a box office hit and moved Fleischer from B-movies to the big time