CONTACT:Frank H. Lieberman -- (310) 247-3090 January 17, 1996 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beverly Hills, CA - Chuck Jones, the creator or animation director of classic cartoon characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote, Pepe LePew, the Road Runner, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and Michigan J. Frog, has been voted an Honorary Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy President Arthur Hiller announced today.
The Oscar will be presented to the 83-year-old animator for "the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than half a century."
"It's shockingly wonderful to receive such an honor from one's peers," said Jones when learning of the award. "I deeply appreciate receiving it, not only for myself, but for the five directors who were the original unit on the Warner Bros. lot. I'm the only one left and I will proudly accept the award for all of us. We did more than 1,500 cartoons during those 30 years and it was truly an all-for-one, one-for-all situation."
Unlike the limited animation often seen in cartoons of recent years, Jones insisted on using full animation in which a character's entire body moves in each frame. This process enabled him to develop the personality and motivation of each character through the way they moved.
Critics often compare his work with that of classic screen comedians. Growing up in Hollywood, Jones observed the talents of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton while working occasionally as a child extra in Mack Sennett comedies. After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, Jones drew pencil portraits for a dollar apiece on Olvera Street until former Disney animator Ub Iwerks hired him as a cell washer.
Jones' career progressed with a position as an animator for the Leon Schlesinger studio, and later, with the Warner Bros. team that made "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies." Working on the unit headed by Fred "Tex" Avery, Jones and other Warner animators and directors shared a back-lot building they nicknamed "Termite Terrace." It was here that the personalities and characteristics of Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were developed and produced.
Today, Jones is again doing the same type of cartoons he was drawing 60 years ago. He's back at Warner Bros. working on Daffy Duck shorts. "I'm starting a new unit like we had in the old days. I'm the senior citizen who is having the greatest time working with young artists to rebuild a Hollywood tradition. I hope to create 'Termite Terrace II'."
Jones' career spans more than 60 years. During that time he has created more than 300 films, including The Dot and the Line (1965), for which he took home an Academy Award in the Short Subject (cartoon) category. Jones received two other Short Subject nominations in 1961 for Beep Prepared and Nelly's Folly. Warner Bros., where Jones worked from 1938 until the close of the studio's animation unit in 1962, garnered several additional nominations for films on which Jones played a creative role.
Jones moved to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when Warner Bros. closed its animation wing. At MGM he directed such notable shorts as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Dot and the Line, and the feature, The Phantom Tollbooth. In 1962 he formed his own company, producing 13 films including Kipling's Rikki, Tikki, Tavi and Mowgli's Brothers.
Jones lectures and conducts workshops at colleges and universities around the country, including Stanford, Kansas, Iowa, USC and UCLA. He has been honored by the British Film Institute, the Kennedy Center, the American Film Institute and the Telluride Film Festival.
The Honorary Award to Chuck Jones will be presented to him during the 68th Academy Awards Presentation at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center of Los Angeles County on Monday, March 25, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 6 p.m. (PST). --30--