Gene Deitch: All Round Legend dies at 95

The Legend Gene Deitch
The Legend Gene Deitch

The American Oscar-winning illustrator, animator, producer, and director, Gene Deitch, dies at the age of 95.

The death was unexpected in his apartment in Prague.

His film Munro won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1960 and was nominated for the same award in 1964 for his two films, ‘Here’s Nudnik’ and ‘How to Avoid Friendship.’

Deitch was born in Chicago on August 8, 1924. In 1929, the family moved to California and attended his schooling in Hollywood. His studio was located in Prague near the Barrandov Studios, where many major films were shot.

He co-produced ‘Sydney’s Family Tree,’ which was nominated for Academy Awards and created the ‘Tom Terrific’ series, which was presented as part of the Captain Kangaroo children’s television show.

Until 2008, Deitch worked as the animation director for Western Woods Studios and adapted 37 films for the organization. Deitch directed the film Alice of Wonderland in 1966, and in the same year, he worked with Czech animator Jiri Trnka on an animated film adaptation of The Hobbit.

His family consists of his wife and three children, who all are illustrators. He had directed 13 ‘Tom and Jerry’ episodes and most of ‘Popeye the Sailor’ series. Critics regard those 13 Tom and Jerry episodes as the worst among all, but Deitch claims most fans wrote a letter stating those episodes as their personal favorites.

He received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifetime contribution to animation in 2004.