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Making our Childhood Awesome: The Legacy of Gene Deitch

Oscar-winning illustrator and animator, Gene Deitch, has passed away at the age of 95, according to media reports.

The producer is known for his direction of Tom and Jerry and some of the Popeye the Sailor Series.

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Tribute to Gene Deitch (@DEADLINE)

The news was revealed by his publisher, Petr Himmel, who said Deitch died unexpectedly in his apartment in Prague’s Little Quarter neighborhood.

Born on August 8 in 1924, in Chicago, Deitch, whose full name was Eugene Merrill Deitch, was known for directing some of the most popular animator cartoons, including Popeye the Sailor Man, Munro, Tom Terrific and Nudnik.

After graduating, Deitch began working for North American Aviation, drawing aircraft blueprints. In 1943, he was drafted and underwent pilot training before catching pneumonia and was honorably discharged in May of the following year.

Deitch also contributed covers and interior art to the jazz magazine The Record Changer. Deitch took an apprenticeship at the animation studio United Productions of America (UPA), and later became the creative director of Terrytoons, creating such characters as Sidney the Elephant.

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Terrytoons (

Working from behind the Iron Curtain, he had directed 13 episodes of Tom and Jerry and multiple episodes of Popeye the Sailor Man.

Deitch’s won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1960 for his film Munro. He also received nominations for the same category twice in 1964 for Nudnik and How to Avoid Friendship.

In 2004, he received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation.