I was born on September 17, 1948 in Hollywood, California; the cradle of animated film. To this day I have a vivid memory of being five years old and watching cartoons at my Grandmother’s house.
That was it, I was hooked on animation.
In High School, I spent more time drawing and looking for animation art in the dumpster at the Hanna-Barbera studio than studying. I remember one dumpster diving episode ended with Mr. Barbera yelling, “Get out of that dumpster, you knot-head!”
After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute I started a career in animation that brought me to the Disney studio, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, numerous commercial houses and for the past twenty-two years, Warner Bros. animation. I have worked as an inbetweener, assistant animator, animator, timing director, director and producer; as well as having the pleasure of working on numerous “characters” including Scrooge McDuck, Tom and Jerry, Sylvester and Tweety, The Flintstones, Batman and Superman and all the DC Super Heroes… the list goes on and on.
Who would have thought the five year old kid who fell in love with cartoons at his Grandmother’s house would go on to work with some of the legends of animation. Irv Spence gave me an animation education that could never be learned in school. Ray Patterson taught me how to time exposure sheets and slug storyboards; talk about learning from the best. One of my proudest moments came when Bill Hanna reviewed a scene of my animation, much as he did on the legendary Tom and Jerry cartoons of the 1940s and 50s, and gave me an approving nod. It really has been a great ride!
Of course, no ride is without it’s bumps, the biggest being in 2007, when I was diagnosed with lateral Parkinson’s disease on my right side. Needless to say, I knew life would never be the same. As I made my way through the initial shock of the diagnosis I remembered the words of a good friend: “Problem – solution; problem – solution.” My solution was to buy a sketch book and teach myself to draw with my left hand. Just as I had found challenges, accomplishments, enjoyment, discipline and solace through drawing for so much of my life; Drawings from the Left helped me find my way through the challenges of Parkinson’s disease.
I still reside in Los Angeles, California, living with my wife Susan. I am the proud father of three and grandfather of one. And, through all the bumps in the road I am blessed to be able to make “drawings from the left” while still working at my first love – animated film.