Maurice J. Noble, animation designer who co-directed the Academy Award-winning short subject “The Dot and the Line” and many other cartoon classics, died Friday in La Crescenta, Calif. He was 91.
Noble’s innovative use of color design lives on in Disney films such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Bambi” and “Dumbo.” His work on more than 60 Warner Bros. cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner contributed to a new look and approach to animation.
Born in Spooner, Minn., Noble moved to California and attended Chouinard Art Institute, precursor to the California Institute of the Arts.
He began his career in advertising, designing the “Red Door” for Elizabeth Arden, but discovered his true calling at the Walt Disney Co., where he worked on the “Silly Symphonies” series, “Dumbo” and “Fantasia.”
During World War II, Noble was a member of Frank Capra’s U.S. Army Signal Corps unit that created animated films for the Armed Forces. During this period he met his future colleagues Ted Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss) and Chuck Jones.
After the war, Noble and Jones entered into a partnership that continued on and off for nearly 50 years. Some of the animated short subjects Noble created during that time include “Duck Dodgers in the 24th-and-a-half Century,” “Bully For Bugs,” “Duck Amuck,” “What’s Opera, Doc” and “The Dot and the Line.”
His partnership with Jones continued through the 1960s, when they produced numerous animated versions of Dr. Seuss classics including “The Cat in the Hat,” “Horton Hears a Who” and “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.”
Following a leave in the 1970s, Noble returned to animation in the 1990s to contribute designs to Chuck Jones Prods. and Warner Bros. and to form his own studio, Maurice Noble Prods.
In 1987, Noble received the Annie Award from the Intl. Animation Society for creative excellence in animation, and he was honored for contributions to the Disney Studio in 1993.
Noble is survived by his wife Marjorie, two children and a grandson.