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Legendary Tom & Jerry And Popeye Director Gene Deitch Dies Aged 95

by : Emily Brown on : 19 Apr 2020 09:47
Legendary Tom & Jerry And Popeye Director Gene Deitch Dies Aged 95Legendary Tom & Jerry And Popeye Director Gene Deitch Dies Aged 95Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/PA

Oscar-winning illustrator and legendary Tom & Jerry director Gene Deitch has died aged 95. 

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Gene passed away in his apartment in Prague on Thursday, April 16, though no cause of death has yet been given.

His Czech publisher, Petr Himmel, confirmed the news, saying Gene died ‘unexpectedly’.

Gene, whose full name was Eugene Merrill Deitch, worked as a draftsman for North American Aviation before being drafted for the military and entering pilot training. He was discharged for medical reasons in 1944 and went back to work in the commercial art world, after which his animation career took off.

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In 1958, Deitch was nominated for an Academy Award for his film Sidney’s Family Tree. He went on to the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Munro in 1960, and was nominated another two times in the same category in 1964 for Here’s Nudnik and How to Avoid Friendship.

During his career, Gene worked as creative director at of Terrytoons, under 20th Century Fox, where he created characters like Sidney the Elephant, Gaston Le Crayon, Clint Clobber and Terr’ble Thompson.

Gene DeitchGene DeitchPA Images

He went on to work with Rembrandt Films through the 1960s to produce a number of Popeye cartoons, as well as a dozen Tom and Jerry shorts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

He also co-produced and directed a series of King Features’ Krazy Kat shorts for TV, and created an original kids’ series called The Bluffers.

Gene is survived by his wife and three sons from his first marriage. Rest in peace.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Animator, Cartoons, Gene Deitch, Popeye, Tom and Jerry