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Gene Deitch – RIP

Animator Gene Deitch has passed away.

From the Expatz Czech notice:

Prague, April 17 (CTK) – American director and animated film producer Gene Deitch, living in Prague with his Czech wife, animator and producer Zdenka Najmanova, died there last night at the age of 95 years, Garamond publishing house owner Petr Himel told CTK today.


Eugene Merril (Gene) Deitch
August 8, 1924 – April 16, 2020

animator, illustrator, comic artist

A famed animator, director, and creative consultant Gene began his animation career at UPA toward the end of that outfit’s first decade. Gene’s approach to design was was a perfect match for the studio’s stylized limited animation. From there he went to Terrytoons where he created a number of cartoon characters, most famously Tom Terrific. Gene then opened his own animation studio.

above: Gene Deitch Terrytoons character sheet via Patrick Owsley

Lambiek’s Comiclopedia entry for Gene details his career in animation, and his other endeavors.

Here Wonder Whyz appreciates the much-maligned Deitch era of Tom and Jerry.

Cartoon Research articles by and about Gene.

Before Gene’s animation career he was a cartoonist and illustrator, notably for The Record Changer.


For six months, 1955-56, Gene created the Terr’ble Thompson comic strip. The book.


An even shorter run was Gene’s Small World comic strip for the Prague weekly Kvety.

Jerry Beck and Gene show the complete run translated.


Goodbye to Gene – a long life, well lived.

Memories and condolences are flooding Gene’s Facebook page.

update: Gene Deitch obit by Amid Amidi at Cartoon Brew.

update: Gene Deitch eulogy by Jerry Beck at Cartoon Resources.

update: The Animation Magazine obit.


Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
@ 11:59 am

There was a giant. I used to sneer at his Tom & Jerry cartoons, but before that I used to laugh at them, and I came to appreciate them as a completely different species of work than the slick Bill & Joe classics. His work with Jiri Trnka produced some masterpieces, and I’ve liked his jazz cat cartoons since I first saw them. His son Kim could also be considered as a contribution to the culture of the world (and I’m pretty sure I saw a Simon Deitch’s signature on an underground comic as well).

One thing I didn’t know about him before I heard an NPR story twenty years ago: his name didn’t rhyme with ‘sneetch.’ The I was long. His life was long and productive.

#2 Charles Brubaker
@ 12:51 pm

I was lucky enough to meet Gene years ago in LA, and have corresponded with him on and off many times, even getting some of his CinemaScope cartoons from my collection transferred for him.

I have always enjoyed his cartoons and consider him a major influence. He will be deeply missed.

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