Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Warren Batchelder 1917-2007

I don't keep my ear to the animation grapevine as I once did, but I can't let the passing back in February of former Warner Bros. and DePatie-Freleng animator and director Warren Batchelder slip by. He died back on February 12 just a couple of months shy of his 90th birthday. He's a guy who's just got a lot of entries in my animation pages here at He was one of the undersung greats of the industry.

Born on April 18, 1917 in Los Angeles, Warren Batchelder had been hanging around Warner Bros. as an assistant, most notably with Virgil Ross, since at least the mid-1930's, but it wasn't until 1958 that he was promoted to full animator in the Robert McKimson unit. His greatest glories were ahead as he was one of the primary animators at Friz Freleng's studio for its entire history, getting hundreds of credits on Pink Panther, Inspector and Tijuana Toads cartoons and all their various TV shows.

Marvel Productions was his next stop where he was director on many of their series including "G.I. Joe" and "Jem". There was even a brief stop at Warner Bros. where he worked on episodes of "Tiny Toon Adventures" as a character layout artist. Batchelder stayed active in animation for about another decade after that, finally putting the pencils away in 2002.

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