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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.

In the 1940s, he returned to Disney, working as a layout artist on industrial and educational films. Later he received layout credit on Disneys 1946 feature, MAKE MINE MUSIC. Benedict moved to TV commercial animation in the mid-1940s, working at Paul Fennell's Cartoon Films.

Tex Avery, who worked with Benedict at Universal, hired Benedict in 1952 as MGMs lead layout artist and designer. Benedicts credits on Averys shorts include DIXIELAND DROOPY, FIELD AND SCREAM, THE FIRST BAD MAN, DEPUTY DROOPY and CELLBOUND. After Avery left MGM, Benedict worked on the DROPPY cartoons as well as freelancing with Avery for TV spots.

William Hanna and Joe Barbera, having seen his work while at MGM, called on the talents of Benedict in the late-1950s and early-1960s to design for Hanna-Barbera. Benedict began with designing the lead characters in H-Bs first TV series, THE RUFF AND REDDY SHOW. Benedict will arguably be most remembered for designing many of the classic H-B characters, including Yogi Bear, Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Barney and Betty Rubble, Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw.

Iwao Takamoto, vp special projects at Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, told AWN he was quite an admirer of Benedict. While Benedict was designing characters for Hanna and Barbera at MGM and then their own studio, Takamoto was working at Walt Disney Feature Animation. When Takamoto left Disney for HB, he said Benedict was one of the first designers he was greatly influenced by and helped him understand how to transition from Disney to Hanna-Barbera styling. Takatmoto ultimately became vp of character design for Hanna-Barbera for nearly three decades.

After Hanna-Barbera, Benedict moved to Carmel, California, where he continued to freelance throughout the 60s and 70s before his retirement.

In 1994, ASIFA-Hollywood bestowed Benedict with its lifetime achievement award, the Winsor McCay Award.

Benedict requested that upon his death no services be held. He will be cremated and his ashes will spread over Carmel Bay, where his wife Alice's ashes were scattered previously.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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