Recently, Gene Deitch – director of “Tom & Jerry” in the 1960s has passed away at his home in Prague (Czech Republic) on 16 April at the age of 95.
On the evening of April 19, the US media reported that Gene Deitch, the director, and illustrator of the legendary cartoon Tom and Jerry from 1961-1962 and Popeye’s sailor, had breathed his last at the age of 95 in a private apartment in Prague, The Czech Republic on April 16.
Gene Deitch was well-known as the director of the 13 episodes of Tom & Jerry for MGM in the period of 1961 to 1962.
His publisher, Petr Himmel, told the AP that he had died “unexpectedly” and that the cause of his death had not been announced. Gene Deitch, whose real name is Eugene Merrill Deitch worked as a sketch for North American Aviation before moving to the army and participating in pilot training. He moved to Prague in 1959 after he was discharged and began to devote himself to the animation industry.
In 1958, Deitch was nominated for an Academy Award for the film Sidney’s Family Free. He went on to receive the Best Short Film Oscar for the 1960 film Munro and was nominated twice more in the same category in 1964 for Here’s Nudnik and How to Avoid Friendship. During his career, he created famous cartoon characters such as Sidney the Elephant, Gaston Le Crayon, Clint Clobber, and Terr’ble Thompson. The 1960s were a memorable time in Gene’s career when he participated in producing and directing several popular animated films including Sailor Popeye and 13 short episodes of Tom and Jerry for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1961 to 1962.
Mr. Deitch said his life is quite comfortable, even though the Americans are rare in Czech (Eastern European country). He had three children in the previous marriage and all their children have followed their parents’ footsteps and become cartoonists.
Gene Deitch was known as the director of 13 episodes of Tom & Jerry for MGM from 1961 to 1962. He identified these two classic cartoon characters as many similarities with David and Goliath. The story also reflects that the smaller can win or survive to continue fighting. The movie Tom & Jerry has been famous and successful all over the world.
Despite not receiving an Oscar nomination, these 13 short films of the Gene Deitch era were also very successful commercially even with a limited budget. The film crew broke the Looney Tunes record to become the short animated film that had the highest-grossing at the time.