Earl Kress dies at 60

Toon writer was VP of Animation Guild

Animation writer and historian and Animation Guild VP Earl Kress died Sept. 19 due to complications from liver cancer. He was 60.

Kress began work in animation in 1975 with “The Oddball Couple,” an adaptation of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.”

Kress won two Emmy Awards and an Annie Award for writing episodes of “Pinky and the Brain” for Warner Bros. and was nominated for an episode of “Animaniacs.” He wrote the last Road Runner short, 2000’s “Little Go Beep.” He produced several DVDs of Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. classic cartoons and penned comicbooks for “The Simpsons” and Looney Tunes.

Among the series for which he wrote were “Transformers,” “Pound Puppies,” “Taz-Mania” and “Baby Looney Tunes.” He collaborated with Mark Evanier on the autobiography of voiceover specialist June Foray and contributed to the special features of many DVDs such as the recent “Top Cat.” He also worked as a voice actor and as a puppeteer for the Muppets.

In addition to Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera, Kress worked for DePatie-Freleng, Disney, Marvel, Filmation and Universal during his career.

He most recently contributed to the 2010 direct-to-video effort “Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes.”

Kress joined the Animation Guild’s executive board in 1995 and was elected VP in 2004.

“As a union officer he was known as a tireless champion of animation writers’ rights,” the guild said on its website. In the 2006 contract negotiations, Kress championed a proposal to guarantee health benefits for any writer who wrote at least one half-hour script in a coverage period, thus greatly increasing benefit coverage for freelance animation writers.

Services will be held Friday at noon at Forest Lawn’s Old North Church, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive.

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