Emmy-winning animation giant Lou Scheimer, founder of Filmation Studios, which produced toon series including “Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and even the animated version of “Star Trek,” died Thursday. He was 84. The cause of death was not revealed, but Scheimer had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had had quadruple bypass heart surgery.
Scheimer’s company was the largest animation operation in the country in the early 1980s by number of employees, according to the Associated Press.
He founded animation producer Filmation with Norm Prescott and Hal Sutherland in 1963; its first big hit was “The New Adventures of Superman.” Filmation series included “The Archie Show,” “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “Bravestarr.” Scheimer occasionally did voice work for the company’s series.
With Bill Cosby he created “Fat Albert,” ground-breaking as the one of the first animated series centering on African American characters.
Scheimer won a Daytime Emmy in 1975 for the animated “Star Trek” series and a Primetime Emmy in 1977 for “A Fat Albert Christmas” special. As recently as April of last year, Scheimer was acting as a consultant to Gang of Seven (G7) Animation.
In 1969, Filmation was sold to a cable operator that was bought by Westinghouse. Scheimer continued to head Filmation but was told to cut costs and in 1987 announced that some work would be shipped overseas.
In 1989, Filmation was bought by a French investor group that closed the company’s Woodland Hills plant and fired most employees.
DreamWorks purchased the Filmation library last year.
Born in Pittsburgh, Scheimer graduated with an art degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology.
He is survived by his wife, his daughter, Erika and his son, Lane.