You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Michael Webster

Michael Webster, cartoon animator and executive who established the Walt Disney Co.’s TV animation division in 1984, died of pneumonia Jan. 15 at his home in Port Townsend, Wash. He was 60. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1980s.

Webster, whose career in animation spanned 42 years, served as senior vice president of the division he founded, Walt Disney Television Animation, until his retirement in 1992. While there, he oversaw production of the Emmy-winning “New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” and a host of other shows, including “Ducktales,” “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears,” “Disney’s Wuzzles,” “Goof Troop,” “Darkwing Duck,” “Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers” and cartoon series based on the Disney features “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin.”

Born and reared in Los Angeles to vaudevillian-screenwriter Marriott Coates Webster (whose credits include films for such Republic Pictures stars as Roy Rogers), Webster developed an interest in animation following a visit to Disney Studios as a 10-year-old. In 1957, 18-year-old Webster got his start in the industry at Quartet Films, where he worked his way up from cleanup man to assistant animator with animator Art Babbitt as his mentor. He subsequently moved to Hanna Barbera, where he did animation work on such programs as “The Flintstones.”

Webster also worked on a series of cartoon ads for Murakami Wolf Films featuring such well-known commercial characters as Kelloggs’ Tony the Tiger, Sunkist’s Charlie the Tuna and the Jolly Green Giant.

Before moving to Disney in 1984, Webster spent seven years producing commercials for Leo Burnett Advertising. He also started Image West, one of the first commercial production houses to offer computer graphics.

Webster is survived by his wife of 20 years, Lynne, as well as four children and two grandsons.

More Scene

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

  • Anthony Anderson LADF

    Why Anthony Anderson and Billie Jean King are Giving Back with the Dodgers Foundation

    Celebrities and athletes came together at the Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala to celebrate the team’s commitment to supporting youth and to catch a glimpse of the event’s headliner: Bruno Mars. Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss were honored at the fifth annual event, which raised over $3 million for programs benefiting Los Angeles youth. [...]

  • Shia LaBeouf poses at the premiere

    Shia LaBeouf to Host Birthday Fundraiser for Slauson Rec. Theater Company

    Shia LaBeouf is celebrating his 33rd birthday by giving back. The actor, who turned 33 on June 11, will host a fundraising concert later this month for the Slauson Rec Theater Company, a 10-month-old free performing arts program he co-founded in downtown Los Angeles. The night will also include a preview of the Slauson Rec [...]

  • Awkwafina, Lulu Wang Celebrate New York

    Awkwafina Wants 'The Farewell' to Break Boundaries of Cultural Differences

    Family dysfunction is universal despite cultural differences. That’s what writer and director Lulu Wang wants audiences to take away from her film “The Farewell” starring Awkwafina. “This movie will teach us universality out of specificity. There’s something that we can all kind of relate to across cultures. There’s something we still have to learn about [...]

  • Elizabeth Debicki

    Elizabeth Debicki Talks About Being Supported by Other Women in Hollywood

    Elizabeth Debicki is looking to the future — which makes sense, since she was named Women in Film and Max Mara’s “Face of the Future” for 2019. “No pressure,” Debicki laughed when Variety asked the actress about the honor on the red carpet. “It means a great deal. I have always deeply respected the work [...]

  • Carla Gugino Jett

    How Carla Gugino Is Redefining the Anti-Hero in Cinemax's Crime Drama 'Jett'

    “This is like no character I’ve ever played,” Carla Gugino told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of Cinemax’s “Jett” on Tuesday night. “I think television is filled with great roles for women, which is such a godsend these days. But the anti-hero — there’s still a double standard there.” In the new series, Gugino [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content