While many people grew up watching Popeye and Tom & Jerry cartoons or forced their children to watch them all the time, only a handful knew who created them. Eugene Merril Deitch, best known by his stage name Gene Deitch, was an American illustrator, animator, comics artist, and film producer.
He created animated cartoons such as Munro, Tom Terrific, and Nudnik.
Deitch lived in Prague for the most of his life, having relocated there in 1959 after Rembrandt Films agreed to finance Munro. He lived there his entire life till he died suddenly on April 16, 2020, at the age of 95. Since news of his death, artists from all over the world have flooded the Internet with tributes. The artwork is a touching tribute to the late illustrator.
Even if you aren’t familiar with Gene Deitch’s name, you are surely familiar with his work. Deitch was a key figure in the creation of both Tom & Jerry and Popeye, and it’s safe to say that few people are unfamiliar with their work.
During World War II, Deitch worked as a draughtsman for North American Aviation before being recruited by the American army to become a pilot. He returned to drawing after the war, and Disney recognised him and invited him to join United Productions of America as artistic director.
Despite his celebrity in the United States, he decided to relocate to Prague, Czech Republic, after Rembrandt Films agreed to fund his short film Munro. He relocated to the company’s headquarters in Prague in 1959.
In 1960, Gee Deitch won an Academy Award for Best Animated Film, indicating that the relocation was well worth it. As a result of his achievement, he was granted the opportunity to direct 13 Tom and Jerry episodes, which were critically lambasted at the time. Tom and Jerry, on the other hand, quickly became the most popular cartoon series of the period.