Friday, October 13, 2006

Animator Ed Benedict Dies

Animator Ed Benedict died in his sleep August 28 at age 94. He is perhaps best known for his work with Hanna-Barbera, although he had worked with many studios over the years.

Benedict's career began at Disney in 1930, although he would not remain there. For much of the Thirties he would work at Universal on Walter Lantz's Oswald shorts, with brief interludes at the Charles Mintz Studio and his own Benedict-Brewer studio (formed with Jerry Brewer). He returned to Disney in the Forties, working as a layout artist on educational and industrial films. He was credited with layout on "Make Mine Music," the Disney short which won the 1946 Cannes Film Festival award for Best Animation Design.

Perhaps the most illustrious part of Benedict's career occurred when he moved to MGM in 1952. There worked with animation legend Tex Avery on several shorts featuring Droopy. He continued to work on the Droopy shorts even after Avery left MGM. When former MGM animators William Hanna and Joe Barbera formed their own studio, he joined them. He designed the first characters for Hanna-Barbera (Ruff and Reddy of The Ruff and Reddy Show, as well as such iconic characters as Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, and the characters from The Flintstones.

Benedict was a talented animator who had a huge impact on American pop culture. Never mind Tom and Jerry, for me the best MGM cartoons were those featuring Droopy, many of which Benedict worked on. And while I don't think the quality of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons can quite compare with the work done at MGM and Disney, he did design many iconic characters in American animation. Indeed, he was the layout artists on one of my favourite animated series from the Seventies, Hong Kong Phooey. While I am saddened by his death, I think it can be said that he had a long and very successful life.

1 comment:

poppedculture said...

His characters are classic and still remembered fondly by current animators. I've recently seen Droopy on Harvey Birdman, Hong Kong Phooey on Robot Chicken and Fred Flintstone on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Pure flattery.