Tom and Jerry director Gene Deitch dies at 95

Gene Deitch, the Oscar-winning illustrator, animator, film director and producer has died in Prague, the Associated Press reported. He was 95.

Deitch died unexpectedly during the night from Thursday to Friday in his apartment in Prague’s Little Quarter neighbourhood, his Czech publisher, Petr Himmel, told the Associated Press.

Deitch won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1960 for his movie Munro. He was also nominated for the same award twice in 1964 for Here’s Nudnik and How to Avoid Friendship.

Earlier, he had created the Tom Terrific series.  He was also nominated for an Academy Award in 1958 for the film Sidney’s Family Tree, which he had also co- produced.

He directed 13 episodes of Tom and Jerry and also some of the Popeye the Sailor series,  both still remain two favourite cartoon series of the young and old across the world. In 2004, he received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation.

Deitch was born on August 8 in 1924, in Chicago.  He 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.

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, the AP report said.