Don Jurwich, a longtime writer-director-producer at Hanna-Barbera and Marvel Productions, died July 13 of natural causes. He was 87.
Starting his career in animation as a layout and background artist, Jurwich worked his way up in storyboarding, eventually becoming a producer and director.
While working at Hanna-Barbera, Jurwich produced and directed “Scooby Doo,” “The Superfriends,” “Captain Caveman, “Richie Rich,” “Fonz and the Happy Days Gang,” along with one hour prime-time special, “Scooby Goes Hollywood.”
At Marvel, Jurwich directed “Spiderman and His Amazing Friends.” He also produced 85 half-hour episodes of “G.I. Joe,” along with the miniseries “G.I. Joe: The Movie,” which was later released as a feature film.
Over the course of his 40-year career, Jurwich contributed to animated series including “Road Runner,” “The Pink Panther,” “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “The Flintstones,” “George The Jungle,” “Yogi Bear,” “Tom & Jerry” — along with their mini-me successor, the “Tom & Jerry Kids Show.” Jurwich also produced the Emmy-nominated Saturday morning series, “The Smurfs,” along with “The Smurf Christmas Special” and worked on the cult classic “Heavy Metal.”
As a director, Jurwich had the opportunity to work with greats such as Tex Avery, Mel Blanc, Don Messick (Scooby Doo), Casey Kasem and Ringo Starr.
Jurwich’s career in animation afforded him the opportunity to live and work in foreign countries such as Mexico, Japan, Korea and Canada. Jurwich also worked as an art consultant for the UCLA Spanish department and taught classes in storyboarding at Art Center College of Design. Although he made his living working in cartoons, Jurwich’s passion was fine art, and he dedicated himself to drawing and painting full-time after retiring — culminating in two successful art shows at the Animation Guild in Burbank.
A movie lover, Jurwich was a member of the Motion Picture Academy for decades.
He is survived by his wife, Edna, his son, Stephen, his daughter, Jennifer, his son-in-law, Paul and his grandson Kyle.
A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, August 20 at 10 a.m. at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks-Griffin Memorial Park in Westlake Village