Gene Deitch, an award-winning animator, director and producer, has died at age 95. He died in his Prague apartment Thursday, his publisher, Petr Himmel, confirmed his death. A cause of death has not yet been revealed, though at least one family member has claimed the animator’s passing was not caused by COVID-19.
Eugene Merril Deitch was born in Chicago in 1924, but moved out to Los Angeles soon after, where he attended school. Upon graduating from Los Angeles High School, he began drawing blueprints for North American Aviation.
Nominated for three Academy Awards during his nearly six-decade-long career, Gene Deitch won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1964 for “Munro.” The nine-minute-comedy about a 4-year-old who’s drafted into the army became the first short created outside the U.S. to win the award.
He also directed several episodes of “Tom and Jerry” and the “Popeye the Sailor” series.
By: Dammy Eneli