Till they traveled to exotic locations and made a mess, Tom and Jerry were not world famous. The man who took them there was Gene Deith and he passed away on 19th April 2020. Gene was an American and an Oscar winning illustrator, animator, producer and film director.

Tom & Jerry Director
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Gene’s Czech publisher announced his death to The Associated Press. He apparently died on Thursday night in his apartment in Prague.

The Academy Adventure

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

Born Aug 8 1924 in Chicago, Deitch arrived in Prague in 1959 on a 10 day trip. But he fell in love with his future wife, Zdenka. He then settled in the Czechoslovakian capital.

13 Shorts

In 1961, MGM hired Rembrandt Films to produce 13 shorts. Gene Deitch headed this project. These 13 differed from Hanna-Barbera’s original in their settings. The originals were set inside or outside a house.

Tom & Jerry Director
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But Gene’s 13 shorts moved to more exotic locations. They went on a whaling ship, jungles of Nairobi, Ancient Greek acropolis, and the Wild West. None of these films were nominated for the Academy Awards. But they were a huge commercial success. They went on to become the highest-grossing animated short film series of the time.