Remembering the Animation & VFX Greats We Lost Last Year
In 2021, we bid farewell to many talented men and women who brightened our world with their contributions to the world of animation and visual effects. We honor their memory on these pages, celebrate their many accomplishments and are forever grateful to them for making our world such a better place. We are grateful to the wonderful Tom Sito, who produces the Afternoon of Remembrance each year to celebrate and honor the lives of those who gave so much to our community and the world at large. The Animation Guild’s annual event is scheduled for Saturday, February 5 at noon PST on Zoom. An updating tribute page can be found at animationmagazine.net.
Edwin E. Aguilar. Animator, character layout artist and assistant director on The Simpsons, who began his career at Graz Entertainment and Hanna-Barbera (working with Chuck Jones on Warner. Bros. shorts). He also worked on The Oblongs and The Simpsons Movie. Died April 10, age 46.
Jack Angel. Voice actor best known for his work on shows such as The Transformers, Super Friends (Hawkman, The Flash, Super Samurai), The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, Spider-Man, Pole Position and Voltron: Defender of the Universe and
movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Iron Giant, Spirited Away and Monsters, Inc. Died Oct. 19, age 90.
Ed Asner. Seven-time Emmy-winning actor best known for his role as Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and voicing Carl in Pixar’s Oscar-winning Up. His many voice credits include Animaniacs, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Johnny Bravo, King of the Hill, The Boondocks, Hercules, Gargoyles, Freakazoid!, Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, SpongeBob SquarePants, American Dad! and Central Park. Died
Aug. 29, age 91.
Dale Baer. Long-time Disney animator whose credits at the studio include Robin Hood, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, The Rescuers, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, The Black Cauldron, The Lion King, Tarzan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Treasure Planet, The Princess and the Frog and Winnie the Pooh (Owl). He also worked on Lord of the Rings, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the upcoming The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Died Jan. 15, age 70.
Brenda Banks. One of the first Black women to become a professional animator, she worked on Ralph Bakshi’s Coonskin, The Lord of the Rings, Wizards and Fire and Ice. Other credits include
Heathcliff, Daffy Duck’s Movie: Fantastic Island, The Smurfs, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, The Duxorcist, Jetsons: The Movie, Tom & Jerry Kids and This Is America, Charlie Brown. Banks also worked as
character layout artist on The Simpsons and King of the Hill. Died Dec. 30, 2020; age 71.
Bob Baker. BAFTA-winning British TV and film
writer, who co-wrote Aardman Animations’ The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave, A Matter of Loaf and Death and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit with Nick Park. He also wrote for the Dr. Who series and created the show’s K-9 character, which went on to have its own series. Died Nov. 3, age 82.
Noreen Beasley. Character designer and rough in-betweener who worked on Foofur, The Centurions, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Goofy Movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Atlantis and Treasure Planet. Died July 22.
Ned Beatty. Oscar-nominated actor best known for his roles in Deliverance, Network, Superman and Hear My Song and to Pixar fans as the voice of pink teddy bear Lotso in Toy Story 3. Died June 13, age 83.
Vinnie Bell. Talented animator whose 50-year career spanned everything from Terrytoons shorts, to ’80s The Berenstain Bears specials to 21st century adult comedy Harvey Birdman. The Deputy Dawg Show, Mighty Mouse, The Old Man and the Flower, Dig, The MAD Magazine TV Special, Michael Sporn’s Nightingale, The Lizzie McGuire Movie and SNL’s TV Funhouse are among his many credits. Died Feb. 1, age 89.
Giannalberto Bendazzi. Italian journalist, author
and animation scholar who wrote Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation and Animation: A World History, co-founded the Society for Animation Studies and was the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation Theory from the Animafest Zagreb and the 2016 ASIFA Lifetime Achievement Award. Died Dec. 14, age 75.
Val Bettin. Voice actor who was featured in The Great Mouse Detective (Dr. David Dawson), The Return of Jafar (The Sultan) and Shrek (Bishop) as well as shows such as Hercules, Gargoyles and Pepper Ann. Died Jan. 7, age 97.
Jamie Kezlarian Bolio. Animator and marketing/ consultancy pro who launched campaigns for indie features such as The Secret of Kells, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea and represented acclaimed Irish studio Cartoon Saloon and NFB shorts. A former board member of ASIFA-Hollywood, she worked as a clean-up artist/ assistant animator on Rocko’s Modern Life, An American Tale: Fievel Goes West, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Tale, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan
and Fantasia 2000 and was assistant animator on The Illusionist. Died Aug. 29, age 54.
Richard Bowman. Prolific animation director, supervising animator and sheet timer, who worked consistently for the past five decades. Among his numerous TV credits: X-Men: The Animated Series, The Simpsons, Muppet Babies, The Addams Family, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, The Tick, Beethoven, Aeon Flux, Men in Black: The Series, SpongeBob SquarePants, Danny Phantom, Doctor Strange and My Friends Tigger & Pooh. His final credit was
sheet timer on 2021’s The Loud House Movie. Died March 19, age 70.
Allan Burns. Oscar-nominated writer/producer (A Little Romance) and one of the creators of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. His wide range of writing
credits include The Bullwinkle Show, Rhoda, Lou Grant, The Munsters, He and She, Get Smart and Fractured Flickers. Died Jan. 20, age 85.
Peter R. Brown. Character designer, overseas animation supervisor and effects animator, who worked on shows such as Recess, As Told by Ginger, Lilo & Stitch: The Series and Family Guy and movies such as FernGully: The Last Rainforest, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, A Goofy Movie and Space Jam. Died Aug. 12.
Ron Campbell. Animator, illustrator and director best known for The Beatles cartoon and Yellow Submarine. From the 1960s, he worked on a wide variety of TV series and movies including Cool McCool, The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour, The Flintstones, Pac-Man, The Jetsons, Ghostbusters, Bionic Six, The Snorks, The Smurfs, DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Rugrats, Rocket Power and Stuart Little. Died Jan. 22, age 81.
Sam Cornell. Storyboard artist (The Rugrats Movie, George of the Jungle), producer (Hollywood Dog) and writer/director (The New 3 Stooges) who also worked on Jetsons: The Movie, Mickey’s 60th Birthday, The Hugga Bunch, Donald Duck’s 50th Birthday, Shinbone Alley and Twilight Zone: The Movie. Died
May 1, age 82.
Dave Creek. Character designer on Bob’s Burgers, Central Park, The Great North, Brickleberry and Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (layout). Died Jan. 7 from injuries sustained in a skydiving accident, age 43.
David DePatie. Emmy- and Oscar-winning producer, co-founder of DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and exec producer at Warner Bros. Cartoons and Marvel. Produced numerous Pink Panther shorts with Friz Freleng, including the Oscar-winning The Pink Phink and the Oscar-nominated The Pink Blueprint as well as the Emmy-winning special Halloween Is Grinch Night. TV credits include The Pink Panther Show, Spider-Man, Daffy Duck’s Easter Show, The Charmkins, G.I. Joe, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friend and Pink Panther and Sons. Died Sept. 23, age 91
Jacques Drouin. Canadian animator and director most known for his pinscreen animation and National Film Board of Canada projects. Imprints, A Hunting Lesson, Mindscape, NightAngel and The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are among his best-loved work. Died Aug. 28, age 78.
Don Duga. Layout/storyboard artist who worked on TV shows (Sesame Street, The Puzzle Place) and movies (The Last Unicorn), specials (Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town) and shorts (Dream Bike, How to Dig a Hole to the Other Side of the World). Died May 31, age 87.
Chris Duncan. Background artist and matte painter who worked at Bento Box, Digital Domain and Warner Bros. Animation. Osmosis Jones, Ender’s Game, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, I Am Weasel, Detention, Johnny Bravo, Ozzy & Drix, Loonatics Unleashed
and The Great North were among the many shows and movies he worked on. Died Nov. 10, age 58.
Mira Furlan. Croatian actress who starred as Silver Sable in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Babette in Arcane, Delen in Babylon 5 and Danielle Rousseau in Lost. Died Jan. 20 from complications
from West Nile virus, age 64.
Sean Gallimore. Assistant animator and cleanup animator who worked on The Lion King, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Treasure Planet, Mary Poppins Returns and Space Jam: A New Legacy. Died Oct. 20, age 56.
Myrna Gibbs. Ink and paint artist who began her career working on Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Credits include The Flintstones, The Pink Panther, Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales, Spider-Woman, The Transformers: The Movie, My Little Pony: The Movie, The Transformers, Cathy’s Valentine and This Is America, Charlie Brown. Died Sept. 28.
Troy Gustafson. Visual effects animator who worked on Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear. Died Sept. 23, age 59.
Billie Hayes. Versatile character actress best known for playing Witchipoo in H.R. Pufnstuf and Weenie the Genie on Lidsville. Animation lovers know her as Orgoch (The Black Cauldron), Granny Whammy (DarkWing Duck), Mother Mae-Eye (Teen Titans Go!), Mrs. Neederlander (Transformers: Rescue Bots) and many other guest voices. Died April 29, age 96.
Ángel Izquierdo. Spanish animation veteran who directed the features Dragon Hill and The Adventures of Don Quixote and worked on series such as Yogi’s Space Race, The Super Globetrotters, The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Mystery Museum, Mia and Me and movies such as Asterix in America, Asterix versus Caesar, The Magic Cube and Pippi Longstockings. He co-founded the animation studio Milimetros with Antonio Zurera in 1982. Died Feb. 1.
Marcell Jankovics. Hungarian graphic artist, film director, animator and author who earned an Oscar nomination for his 1974 short Sisyphus and a Palme d’Or for the 1977 short The Struggle. Other works include the feature film Son of the White Mare, A Hungarian Fairy Tale and The Tragedy of Man. Died May 29, age 79.
Olivier Jean-Marie. French animator and show creator best known for writing and directing numerous animated series and features at Xilam Studios, including Oggy and the Cockroaches, Space Goofs and the feature Go West: A Lucky Luke Adventure. His most recent venture was the the new Mr. Magoo animated series. Died May 13, age 60, after a long battle with cancer.
Don Jurwich. Writer-director-producer at Hanna-Barbera and Marvel Productions who produced and directed Scooby-Doo, The Superfriends, Captain Caveman, Richie Rich, Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, directed Spiderman and His Amazing Friends, produced 85 half-hour episodes of G.I. Joe along with the Real American Hero miniseries and G.I. Joe: The Movie. Other credits include Road Runner, The Pink Panther, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Flintstones, George of the Jungle, The New Yogi Bear Show, Tom & Jerry Kids, The Smurfs and the movie
Heavy Metal. Died July 13, age 87.
Linda Kahn. Children’s TV executive for more than 40 years at Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, MTV Networks and Scholastic who helped launch shows such as Ren & Stimpy, Rugrats, Goosebumps, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Maya & Miguel and WordGirl onto the global market. Died Aug. 30, age 72.
Osamu Kobayashi. Japanese animator, illustrator, designer and animation director primarily known for BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad and Paradise Kiss, and directing episodes of Gurren Lagann and Dororo. Also directed avant-garde shorts and music videos for Studio 4°C . Died April 17, age 57, of kidney cancer.
Cloris Leachman. Beloved Oscar- and seven-time Emmy-winning actress, best known for her roles in The Last Picture Show, High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis and Malcolm in the Middle. She also provided the voice of Gran in The Croods movies, Hool in Elena of Avalor, Meryl in Bob’s Burgers, Granny Goodness in Justice League Action, Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s
Mom in Phineas and Ferb, and old Marceline in Adventure Time, among others. Died Jan. 27, age
Fred Ladd (Laderman). Pioneering anime producer who helped distribute popular Japanese shows such as Astro Boy, Gigantor, Kimba the White Lion
and Sailor Moon to the U.S. He also wrote the
book Astro Boy and Anime Come to the Americas.
Died Aug. 3, age 94.
Gary Leib. Acclaimed cartoonist, musician and animator who contributed animated and VFX sequences for features such as American Splendor, Love God, Happy Accidents, American Ultra, Happiness and Prime. He also created a network ID spot for MTV, contributed to the Cartoon Sushi series and directed the shorts Unnatural History of Wall Street and Coffee Nerves New York. Died March 19, age 65.
Roy Naisbitt. Master layout artist who worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Balto and Space Jam
and was art director on Richard Williams’ The Thief and the Cobbler. He also worked as animation artist on 2001: A Space Odyssey and animator/production supervisor on the 1971 special A Christmas Carol. Died April 25, age 90.
Keiko Nobumoto. Japanese writer of acclaimed anime series and movies Cowboy Bebop, Tokyo Godfathers, Macross Plus, Cowboy Bebop: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and the TV/OVA series Wolf ’s Rain. She also contributed scripts to Carole & Tuesday, Samurai Champloo and Space Dandy and was scenario supervisor for Kingdom Hearts. Died Dec. 1, age 57, after a battle with esophageal cancer.
Yasuo Otsuka. Groundbreaking animator and director at Toei Animation, TMS and Studio Ghibli who directed the feature Lupin the 3rd: The Mystery of Mamo and worked on influential projects
such as Magic Boy, The White Snake Enchantress, Future Boy Conan, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro and Hols: Prince of the Sun. Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata were among his mentors. Died March 15, age 89.
Vera Pacheco. Animation clean-up artist, part of the original Don Bluth studio team and later Disney. Her long list of credits includes Pete’s Dragon, The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, Beauty and the Beast (Belle), The Lion King, Hercules and Mary Poppins Returns. She also provided the voice of Princess Daphne in Dragon’s Lair. Born Vera Law, she was previously married to FX animator Dorse Lanpher (d. 2011) and then to writer Jim Pacheco. Died Dec. 11 from pancreatic cancer.
Theresa Plummer-Andrews. Hugely Influential children’s TV industry exec, best known for exec
producing top-quality shows such as Bob the Builder, Noddy, The Animals of Farthing Wood, Fireman Sam and Postman Pat during her two decades at the BBC. She also did consulting work for shows such as Elias: The Little Rescue Boat,
Cyber Group Studios’ Zou and DQ Ent.’s The Jungle
Book. Died Aug. 31, age 77.
Kathleen Quaife-Hodge. Prolific effects animator
who worked on features such as An American Tale, The Land Before Time, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, All Dogs Go to Heaven, The Abyss, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, Tarzan and Osmosis Jones, the short Pups of Liberty and TV
shows such as The Proud Family, Hey Arnold!, Invader ZIM and The Mummy. Died Oct. 5, age 64.
David Richardson. Prolific writer, producer and Humanitas Prize winner who wrote for The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle, Two and a Half Men and F Is for Family. Died Jan. 18, age 65, of heart failure.
Marlene Robinson May. Animation director, supervisor and sheet timer who worked on over a
hundred shows and movies, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, DuckTales, Goof Troop, Darkwing Duck, Sonic the Hedgehog, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duckman, X-Men: The Animated Series, CatDog, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Powerpuff Girls, Rugrats, Veggie Tales, Thomas & Friends and Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy. Died
Oct. 22, age 82.
Mitch Rochon. Animator, director and sheet timer who worked on over 70 projects in a career spanning six decades, from Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977) to Central Park (2021).
Among the many shows he worked on are: DuckTales, The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, Aladdin, Gargoyles, 101 Dalmatians: The Series, Hercules, CatDog, Special Agent Oso, Avengers Assemble and Phineas and Ferb, for which he received an Emmy nomination in 2012. Died Feb. 17, age 72.
Fernando Ruiz Álvarez. Often referred to as the father of Mexican animation, he was the co-director of the country’s first animated movie, the 1976 title Los Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Kings) and The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1987). He was also an animation assistant on Disney’s The Sword in the Stone, directed the TV shows Los Telerines and La Bruja Chiriloca and voiced the character Bosley in the Mexican dub of Charlie’s Angels. Died Aug. 21, age 79, due to a heart attack.
Will Ryan. Voice actor, singer-songwriter and author best known for playing Willie the Giant and Peg-Leg Pete in several Disney projects as well as Petrie in The Land Before Time. A one-time president of ASIFA, Ryan lent his voice to Mickey’s Christmas Carol, G.I. Joe, Dumbo’s Circus, DuckTales, The Smurfs, The Adventures of Gummi Bears, An American Tail, The Little Mermaid, Garfield and Friends, The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park, Rock-A-Doodle, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Family Guy, Wonder Showzen and Mickey Mouse Funhouse, among others. He was also a writer/ consulting producer for The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss which earned him an Emmy nomination. Died Nov. 19, age 72, from cancer.
George Segal. Oscar-nominated actor (Who’s Afraid of Viriginia Woolf?), acclaimed for his comedic roles in sitcoms and movies such as Where’s