Oscar-winning American illustrator, animator, producer, film director and comic artist Gene Deitch died on 16th April 2020 in Prague at the age of 95. Born on 8th August 1924, GENE DEITCH took a training in the pilot and went to work as an illustrator in magazines before eventually coming into animation. He had three sons from his first marriage and all of them are cartoonists and illustrators including his wife.
The Associated Press was told by Petr Himmel, Gene’s Czech publisher that he died suddenly in his apartment in Prague’s Little Quarter neighborhood on Thursday night. In 1959, Deitch arrived in Prague with the plan of staying 10 days, but he met his future wife, Zdenka, and fell in love with her, hence staying in the Czechoslovakian capital.
Deitch created the “Tom Terrific” series and his co-produced movie “Sidney’s Family Tree” was nominated for the Academy award in 1958. He was also nominated twice in 1964 for “Here’s Nudnik” and “How to avoid friendship”. His movie “Munro” won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1960.
He was absolutely admired by people for his contribution to directing 13 episodes of “Tom and Jerry” for MGM between 1961 to 1962 and a few episodes of “Popeye the sailor” for King Features between 1960 to 1963.
In his memoirs “For the love of Prague”, he recorded life in communist Czechoslovakia and in the Czech Republic after the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution. Gene Deitch is also a recipient of the honorary Windsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution and dedication towards animation and cartoons.
As soon as the saddening news of his demise circulated, celebrities and icons all around the globe posted pictures and tweeted about him to pay a tribute to the legend.