‘Ant Bully’ producer dies

Alex Johns was animation producer

Producer Alex Johns, whose credits include Warner Bros.’ “The Ant Bully,” died Aug. 7 at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles from a long-term illness. He was 43.

In addition to his work on “The Ant Bully,” Johns is remembered for co-producing more than 70 episodes of “Futurama” and 1999’s holiday special “Olive, the Other Reindeer.”

In the late ’80s, Johns started in the biz colorizing classic films in spite of being colorblind. Shortly thereafter, he began working on “The Ren and Stimpy Show” as a production coordinator, launching his career in animation.

Johns developed a close relationship with Matt Groening, who hired Johns for both “Futurama” and “Olive.”

“It’s one thing for a producer to slog through the late hours of TV production, but Alex did it all with a smile — a world-class, radiant smile at that,” Groening said. “No matter how difficult the work was, you could count on Alex to not only get the job done, but to do it quickly and cheerfully.”

During the making of “Olive,” Groening replaced exec John Davis as the director.

“Alex was in the uncomfortable position of telling me I was being replaced,” Davis said. “But to hear his spin, it sounded like I was getting a promotion! He was awesome.”

Davis later remembered Johns’ tact and genuine nature and tapped him to co-executive producer “The Ant Bully,” which went on to gross more than $28 million.

Johns is survived by his mother and four brothers.

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