McDuffie, Kress both died this year

Dwayne McDuffie and Earl Kress have been posthumously named co-recipients of the WGA West Animation Writers Caucus’ 14th annual Animation Writing Award.

The WGA said the duo are being recognized for their contributions to the craft of animation writing as well as for their work in organizing animation.

Kudos will be presented to McDuffie’s and Kress’ widows, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie and Denise Kress, at the awards ceremony Thursday night at WGA West headquarters. Mark Evanier, who won the 2003 award, will present the nod to Kress; Matt Wayne will make the presentation to McDuffie.

“Dwayne McDuffie was a talented writer and creator of comics and animation who worked hard for others, particularly for minority writers,” said caucus chair Craig Miller.

“Earl Kress spent 30-plus years working tirelessly to improve the lot of animation writers,” said Stan Berkowitz, who won the award in 2009. “He leaves behind a legacy of iconic cartoons and well-deserved awards, along with scores of fellow animation writers who have health and pension benefits because of Earl and Earl alone.”

Kress died on Sept. 19, shortly after turning 60, of complications due to liver cancer. His animation credits include “Transformers,” “Animaniacs,” “Pinky and the Brain,” “Tom and Jerry Tales,” “The Smurfs,” “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” and “Duck Tales.” Kress joined the Animation Guild’s executive board in 1995; in 2004 he was elected VP of the guild, a position he held until his death.

McDuffie died at age 49 on Feb. 21 of complications after undergoing emergency heart surgery. He was co-founder of Milestone Media, a company that created multicultural comicbook lines that introduced black superheroes such as Hardware and Static and contributed to Marvel’s “Fantastic Four” and DC’s “Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight” and “Justice League of America.”

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