Herb Stott, a trailblazing director and producer of TV commercials, died Feb. 8 in Hollywood. He was 85. The cause of death has not been made public.
Through his two production companies, Spungbuggy Works Inc. and Herb Stott Films, he produced both live-action and animated commercials. Stott’s live-action clients included McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Little Debbie, Doritos, Carl’s Jr., Whataburger, Mattel, Subaru and Target. His animation team created spots for Tootsie Roll, Mr. Clean, ehe Grateful Dead, United Airlines, Levi-Strauss and Kellogg’s. He also worked with celebrities such as Magic Johnson, George Foreman, Wayne Gretzky, Rich Little and John Wayne.
Among Stott’s greatest achievements was producing and directing the first non-political presidential advertisement for George H.W. Bush in 1991, aimed to encourage tourism after the Gulf War. Over his four-decade career, Stott acquired several awards, including a Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Guild award and three Clio awards for excellence in advertising, design and communication.
Stott got his start in commercial production as an assistant animator at Walt Disney Studios before serving in the Korean War. After the war, he enrolled at the Ohio State University but soon returned to Disney, freelancing for animated production company Hanna-Barbera. He launched his first production company, Spungbuggy Works Inc. in 1962 at the age of 28, and later created Herb Stott Films in the 1980s before retiring in 1999.
Animator and fellow Walt Disney employee Floyd Norman remembered Stott in a post on his website, saying he was always impressed by his swagger and confidence.
“He may not have been a Disney big shot but he sure acted like one,” Norman wrote. “This should have been a clear sign that Herb Stott was not just another faceless Disney assistant.”
In retirement, Stott enjoyed painting, playing the piano, collecting art and traveling the world. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Merry Elkins Stott; his sister Janice Pate; and nephew Corey Pate, among others.
Donations in Stott’s name can be made to the American Red Cross.