‘Tom and Jerry’ animator Gene Deitch dies at 95

Gene Deitch
Gene Deitch poses with his book of memories ‘For the Love of Prague’ in Prague, Czech Republic.

Gene Deitch, an American Oscar-winning illustrator, animator, film director and producer has died. He was aged 95.

His Czech publisher, Petr Himmel, said Deitch died unexpectedly during the night from Thursday to Friday in his apartment in Prague’s Little Quarter neighbourhood. No further details were given.

Deitch’s movie ‘Munro’ won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1960. He was also nominated for the same award twice in 1964 for ‘Here’s Nudnik’ and ‘How to Avoid Friendship’.

Earlier, he had created the ‘Tom Terrific’ series, while the ‘Sidney’s Family Tree’, which he co-produced was nominated for an Academy Award in 1958.

Born August 8, 1924, in Chicago, Deitch arrived in Prague in 1959 intending to stay for 10 days, but fell in love with his future wife, Zdenka, and stayed in the Czechoslovakian capital.

Working from behind the Iron Curtain, he directed 13 episodes of ‘Tom and Jerry’ and also some of the ‘Popeye the Sailor’ series.

He captured life in communist Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic after the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution in his memoirs ‘For the Love of Prague’.

In 2004, he received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation.

Deitch is survived by his wife and by three sons from his first marriage, all of whom are cartoonists and illustrators.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s