Tom & Jerry And Popeye Director Gene Deitch Dies Aged 95

Gene Deitch, an Oscar-winning animator, illustrator, film director, and producer, died at 95.

According to reports, Deitch died ‘unexpectedly’ in his apartment.

Deitch’s Famous Works

He’s the man behind the Tom & Jerry cartoons.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

Though Deitch’s career spanned several decades, he’s perhaps famous as the director of Tom & Jerry classics.

Throughout his directorship, he created 13 episodes of Tom & Jerry cartoons.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

With his work, he brought so much laughter to the world through his works, while working for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Deitch also directed Popeye.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

He directed numerous Popeye cartoons, which featured a Spinach eating sailorman.

His Early Life

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

Born Eugene Merrill Deitch in Chicago, of Czech origin, Deitch initially enrolled in the military, joining pilot training at North American Aviation.

While in the aviation school, Deitch met his first love and wife, Marie, with whom he had three sons.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

Unfortunately, at just 19-years-old, he got pneumonia and was honorably discharged from the armed forces for health reasons.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

Following his discharge, Deitch began submitting artwork and front covers to different US magazines, gaining pubic recognition.

Deitch Studied Animation

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

He became the director of Terrytoons, creating characters such as Gaston Le Crayon, Clint Clobber, and Sidney the Elephant.

Deitch Worked on Comic Strips Too

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

And the success of The Real-Great Adventures of Terr’ble Thompson!, Hero of History, led to a daily strip!

Deitch later moved back to his native land Prague, Czechoslovakia. And within days, he met Zdenka Najmanová, who became his second wife.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

He captured life in communist Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic after the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution in his memoirs For the Love of Prague.

Deitch Later Moved Back to America

And from 1969 until retirement in 2008, he was the leading animation director for the Connecticut organization Weston Woods Studios.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

From Drummer Hoff in 1969 to Voyage to the Bunny Planet in 2008, he created over 37 films for the franchise.

tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95
tom & jerry and popeye director gene deitch dies aged 95

Back in 2003, Deitch was awarded the Annie Awards’ Winsor McCay Award for a lifetime contribution to the art of animation.

Deitch deserved the huge award—he brought so much joy to the world through his animations.

Deitch Passed Away Aged 95

Deitch tragically died on April 16 in his apartment in Prague.

He’s survived by his wife and three sons from his first marriage, all of whom are cartoonists and illustrators.

Rest in peace Gene Deitch. Your life’s work will continue to make millions of children and adults alike laugh for generations to come.