Master animator Tissa David dies at 91

She was one of first women in male-dominated field

Pioneering female animator Tissa David died of a brain tumor in Manhattan on Aug. 21. She was 91.

Described by Animation World Network as “New York’s master animator for over five decades,” David was perhaps best known for her work on the 1977 animated feature “Raggedy Ann and Andy,” for which she animated Ann.

She was most recently animation director on the feature “Poe,” directed by Michael Sporn and set for release next year.

A 1975 issue of Millimeter magazine described her as “one of the world’s best and busiest” animators and “one of the few women to have reached the top in the traditionally male-dominated animated cartoon field.”

Terez David was born in Transylvania in the city of Kolozsvar, Hungary. After art school, she started as an assistant animator at Budapest’s Magyar Film Iroda but was soon a co-owner of the Studio Mackassy and Trsi, overseeing production.

She worked for producers Jean Image and Paul Grimault in Paris before moving to New York in 1955. There she worked with animator Grim Natwick, at first as his at the UPA studio and later collaborating as freelancers on a large number of commercials. She also worked with John Hubley on features, shorts and commercials including “Of Demons and Men” (1970), “Eggs” (1970) and “Cockaboody” (1973).

In 1978, she began to work as an animator for R.O. Blechman on projects including “Simple Gifts” and “A Soldier’s Tale.”

David won the Winsor McCay Award, presented to individuals in recognition of lifetime or career contributions in animation, at the Annie Awards in 1988.

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