Art Clokey, the man behind Gumby, has died, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune . He was 89-years-old.
Gumby debuted as part of the HOWDY DOODY SHOW in 1956. Clokey based the green slender optimist after father, who died in a car accident when Clokey was 9. Clokey lived with his mother until her new husband made her send Art to an orphanage.
Clokey studied film at USC. Afterward, he was a teacher at a private military school. Through one of his students, he met 20th Century Fox producer Sam Engel who saw Clokey's short film GUMBASIA and wanted to work with the animator.
After GUMBY left TV in the late '50s, Clokey went on to create DAVEY AND GOLIATH, which was produced by the United Lutheran Church in America. The earnings from that series Clokey used to produce more GUMBY episodes in the 1960s.
The slant-headed icon had another resurgence in the late '80s/early '90s following an Eddie Murphy SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit, which made the character popular again.