Gene Deitch, an American Oscar-winning illustrator, animator, film director and producer known for his direction of Tom and Jerry and some of the Popeye the Sailor series, died in Prague. He was 95.
The news was revealed by his publisher, Petr Himmel, who said Deitch died unexpectedly during overnight Thursday in his apartment. No further details were released.
Deitch directed 13 episodes of Tom and Jerry, which accompanied a generation of Chinese viewers throughout their childhood. Fans of the iconic cat and mouse duo mourned the passing of the director on China’s social media, where many said Tom and Jerry were there all along through their childhood, and even more thanked him for the happiness he brought to viewers’ lives.
Deitch’s work Munro won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1960. He also was nominated for the same award twice in 1964 for Here’s Nudnik and How to Avoid Friendship. Sidney’s Family Tree, which he co-produced, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1958.
In 2004, he received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation.
Deitch is survived by his wife and by three sons from his first marriage.