Oscar-winning illustrator, Gene Deitch, passed away at the age of 95, in his apartment in Prague on Thursday night. His Czech publisher, Petr Himmel confirmed his demise.
Though there were speculations that his death may have been related to Coronavirus, no such reports have been verified by his family and friends.
Born on August 8, 1924, in Chicago, Deitch spent some of his childhood days in California and attended school in Hollywood. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1942.
After his graduation, Deitch explored various work fields before establishing himself as an animator. He first began working for North American Aviation and also went for pilot training in 1943. He has also contributed to the covers and interior art of the jazz magazine The Record Changer. Further, he was also one of the early supporters and audio engineers for Connie Converse.
On a 10-day-trip to Prague in 1959, he fell in love with his wife, Zdenka and settled in Czechoslovakian capital and from there, he created some of his best works and achieved recognition globally.
Deitch is the man behind classics like Tom And Jerry and Popeye. He directed 13 episodes of Tom and Jerry between 1961 to 1962 and multiple episodes of Popeye The Sailor Man for King Features between 1960 and 1963. For Munro, he claimed the Academy award in the short category and has also received a nomination for an Oscar in 1958 for Sydney’s Family Tree.
Gene Deitch is also critically acclaimed for his animated feature adapted from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
Amongst several other recognitions from across the globe, he has received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation in 2004.