Bob Givens, the original creator of one animation’s most iconic cartoon characters, Bugs Bunny, has passed away at the age of 99.
Givens passed away last week on December 14. His daughter Mariana Givens announced on Facebook that her father was ‘resting peacefully on Pallative[sic] care at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank’, California.
As well as being one-half of the world’s most recognised bunny (along with original voice actor Mel Blanc) he worked on some of your favourite childhood TV shows such as He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe, Ghostbusters and Tom & Jerry.
His career as an animator took off at Disney as an animation checker on 1937’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. In 1940 Givens was given the momentous task of redesigning Bug Bunny for his Oscar-nominated short A Wild Hare.
From there he enjoyed a career which spanned seven decades in the animation industry, in that time he worked at Warner Bros. doing countless animations for Bugs and Daffy Duck as well as providing iconic work for Hanna-Barbera (home to Top Cat and The Flintstones).
During the peak of his career, he worked the likes of Tex Avery and Chuck Jones, it was Jones who asked him to review a design for a grey rabbit, who Warner Bros. felt was ‘too cute’. Thanks to his redesign the world was given the iconic Bugs Bunny.
After 30 years of working with Hannah-Barbera, Givens lent his animation know-how to the original Popeye cartoon, as well as Alvin & The Chipmunks and Garfield. His final contribution to animation was 2001’s The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries and Timber Wolf.
Professor of animation at the University of California, Tom Sito, wrote on Facebook that Givens was a ‘funny’ man with a ‘sharp memory’.
Sito recalls his time with Givens, saying:
I met Bob doing layout on HeMan at Filmation. We ‘d go to lunch with him and Pete Alvarado. He was so funny, and his memory was so sharp. ”
I recall Leon Schlesinger’s most oft quoted phrase- I’m going to Palm Springs for the rest of the week, and F*ck you all!” He gave me so much information for Drawing the Line among other projects.
Beethoven once said just like a good days work earns a good nights sleep, so a good life well lived earns a good death.
Happy Landings Bob, say hi to all the gang in Animation Valhalla. You were one of the greats.
We here at UNILAD would like to take this time to offer our condolences to Bob’s family and friends. I’d also like to send a personal thank you to him for being a such an important figure in my childhood.
No matter what age you are everyone is familiar with his work.
Rest in peace Doc.