While many people grew up watching Popeye and Tom & Jerry, or had their children watch them all the time, it’s likely that only a select few know the genius behind it. Eugene Merrill Deitch, better known simply as Gene Deitch, was an American illustrator, animator, comic book artist, and film director. He was also known for doing the Munro, Tom Terrific and Nudnik cartoons.
Deitch lived much of his time in Prague, where he moved when Rembrandt Films agreed to finance Munro in 1959. He spent his entire life there and sadly died suddenly at the age of 95 on April 16, 2020. From who learned of his death, as a tribute to the late illustrator, artists from all over the world have filled the internet with moving works of art.
Deitch was a draughtsman for North American Aviation before becoming a major figure in American animation before being employed during World War II by the American army to become a pilot. He returned to drawing after the war was over and was spotted by Disney and asked to become the creative director of United Productions of America.
Despite his success in America, after Rembrandt Films agreed to finance his short film, Munro, he made a bold decision to relocate to Prague, Czech Republic. In 1959, he moved to the company’s base in Prag
As Gee Deitch won an Oscar for best animated short in 1960 for it, it turned out the move was well worth it. After this achievement, he was given the opportunity to direct 13 episodes of Tom and Jerry that were heavily criticised at the time by the viewers. It caused Tom and Jerry, however, to become the most profitable series at the time.