Pioneering animator Shirley Silvey, who was one of the first women in the field, died July 17 in Fresno, Calif., of heart failure. She was 82.
Most of her career, from 1959-73, she worked at Jay Ward’s animation studio doing the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” “Dudley Do-Right,” “George of the Jungle,” “Fractured Fairy Tales” and “Captain Crunch,” among others.
Silvey began her career in storyboard, layout and character design in the late 1950s at UPA during a time when typically only men held this position. In an interview with Toonarific.com, Silvey said she got a tip from a friend that cartoon director Ed Levitt was looking for a beginner to work on a pilot. As they were both alums of Jepson Art Institute in L.A., Silvey got hired. When Levitt segued to UPA he took Silvey with him as layout artist. While at UPA Silvey drew for “Gerald McBoing-Boing Show,” “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” and “Mr. Magoo 1001 Arabian Nights.”
“When you work on a job you are never aware that it will become a classic,” she told Toonarific.com
She also briefly did work for Warner Bros.’ Bugs Bunny cartoons and other toon shops.
Survivors include a daughter, two grandchildren and a brother, animation artist David Jonas.