Marshall ‘Buzz’ Potamkin dies at 66

Animation producer founded Perpetual Motion Pictures in 1968

Animation producer Marshall “Buzz” Potamkin died from pancreatic cancer in New York City on April 22. He was 66.

Potamkin founded Perpetual Motion Pictures in 1968, and within a decade it became the largest animation studio in New York City. He produced hundreds of TV commercials, including the Hawaiian Punch series, as well as the famous “I Want My MTV” ad campaign.

He produced the 1979 NBC special “The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree,” which led to a series of primetime and daytime cartoons based on the famed children’s books.

Potamkin founded and ran Southern Star Prods. from 1984-91; series included “CBS Storybreak,” “Peter Pan” and “Teen Wolf.” In 1990 Potamkin produced the TV Academy’s “Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue,” the only animated program to be telecast simultaneously on all four major TV networks; Roy Disney was exec producer. Potamkin also served with Disney as honorary exec producer for the UNICEF Animation Consortium.

Potamkin worked briefly at the Walt Disney Co. in 1991 before joining Hanna Barbera as executive producer and TV topper. There he championed the World Premiere Shorts (“What a Cartoon”) unit, which led to “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Johnny Bravo,” “Cow and Chicken” and “Powerpuff Girls.” Also at Hanna Barbera, Potamkin was exec producer of the 1995 Dr. Seuss special “Dayzie-Head Maysie.”

After exiting Hanna Barbera, Potamkin served on the board of Visionary Media, which produced the Web series “WhirlGirl” and produced and directed the direct-to-video film “Buster and Chauncey’s Silent Night” (1998) through his own company, Project X.

His awards include four Clios, the MTV Video Award, more than 20 ASIFA commendations, the Cannes Gold Lion, the Venice Silver Lion, the Peabody, two New York Festival Gold Medals and three Silver Medals and seven Emmy nominations.

He is survived by his wife Rosie.

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