American-Czech illustrator, animator, comics artist, and director of Tom and Jerry, Gene Deitch, has passed on.According to Metro News, the 95-year-old Oscar-winning illustrator died ‘unexpectedly’ in his apartment, Petr Himmel, his Czech publisher confirmed the news to The Associated Press.
Gene, whose full name is Eugene Merril Deitch, was born in Chicago on August 8, 1924, and died April 16, 2020.
He was popular for directing popular animated cartoons including, Tom and Jerry, Popeye, and also creating Munro, Tom Terrific, and Nudnik.
He is survived by his wife Zdenka Najmanová and his three sons from his first marriage to Marie Deitch, Kim, Simon, and Seth Deitch, who are artists and writers for underground comix and alternative comics.
From working as a draftsman for the North American Aviation drawing aircraft blueprints, Gene also contributed covers and interior art to the jazz magazine The Record Changer from 1940-1951.
In 1960, Gene collaborated with Rembrandt to direct Popeye cartoons, and from 1961 to 1962 he directed 13 new Tom and Jerry shorts for Metro Goldyb Mayer (MGM).
Gene was the leading animation director for the Connecticut organization Weston Woods Studios from 1969 until his retirement in 2008.
Reactions have trailed the death of the renowned animator.