Oscar-winning animator, ‘Tom & Jerry’ director Gene Deitch dies

Oscar-winning animator, ‘Tom & Jerry’ director Gene Deitch dies

Oscar-winning illustrator and legendary Tom & Jerry director Gene Deitch has died aged 95.

His Czech publisher, Petr Himmel, told the Associated Press that Deitch died unexpectedly Thursday night in his apartment in Prague’s Little Quarter neighborhood. No further details were given.

Born Aug. 8, 1924, in Chicago, Deitch arrived in Prague in 1959 intending to stay for 10 days, but fell in love with his future wife, Zdenka, and stayed in the Czechoslovakian capital.

During his career, Gene worked as creative director at of Terrytoons, under 20th Century Fox, where he created characters like Sidney the Elephant, Gaston Le Crayon, Clint Clobber and Terr’ble Thompson.

He went on to work with Rembrandt Films through the 1960s to produce a number of Popeye cartoons, as well as a dozen Tom and Jerry shorts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Gene is survived by his wife and three sons from his first marriage.