Don Morgan – RIP


Animator and Pogo artist Don Morgan has passed away.

Donald Lester (Don) Morgan
May 16, 1938 – March 31, 2019


From the obituary:

He grew up in Mechanicsburg, Penn., and joined the Navy three days after graduation from high school. After his time in the Navy he went to Pratt Institute and majored in industrial design, although he always wanted to draw cartoons.

As soon as he graduated he came out west to live with Mickey Mouse in Toonville. That began a career that lasted 42 years of drawing character designs and working in the animation industry.



Darrell Van Citters offers further details on Don’s animation career
(scroll past the Mr. Rupp entry):

Don Morgan got his first job in animation when he went to apply for a job at Bob Clampett’s Snowball Studios only to find that it had closed.  Fortunately, another animation studio had opened in the same space, one run by Dave and Phyllis Bounds Detiege (Walt Disney’s niece and later wife of animator Milt Kahl) to produce the animated feature, The Man from Button Willow.   He began as an assistant animator to Ken Hultgren and, due to his background in industrial design, was pushed into layout by Phyllis Detiege.

The IMDb’s Don Morgan entry lists the animation projects he worked on.


But back to Van Citters profile:

Later, he was excited to work with longtime comic strip hero, Walt Kelly, on The Pogo Special Birthday Special, in which he laid out the entire picture brush inking all the layouts in the style of Kelly’s iconic strip.  Morgan also served as a friendly ear for Kelly, who was less than enchanted with Jones’ interpretation of his characters and would blow off steam over drinks with Don.  When Walt Kelly later fell ill, Morgan ghosted Walt Kelly’s Pogo strip until he died, when Walt’s widow, Selby, took over.



As Darrell mentioned, Don’s association with Walt Kelly on the Pogo animation led to Don drawing the Pogo coomic strip for a bit over a year after Walt’s passing. Allan Holtz has Don drawing the daily and Sunday Pogo strip from October 15, 1973 to November 23, 1974 (with a week by Willie Ito).


Below are some samples of the Pogo characters and strips by Don.