Monday, March 5, 2007

Century Birthday - Tom McKimson


Thomas Jacob McKimson was the eldest of the three
McKimson brothers and was followed into the animation business by brothers Robert and Charles, Jr. His family moved from Colorado to Los Angeles in the mid 1920s and he began his career at the Walt Disney Studio in 1928. While there, he worked as an assistant to animator Norm Ferguson, but departed in mid 1930 to animate at the fledgling studio of Romer Grey in Altadena. When Grey could no keep work coming in, Tom left to work with Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising at their studio. He remained until MGM took over production of their own cartoons.

McKimson worked as an animator and layout artist in Bob Clampett's unit at the Leon Schlesinger "Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies" Studio and is credited with the original design of Tweetie Pie. Tom's contributions there ended in 1947 when he left to take the position of art director for Western Publishing, the parent company of Golden Books. The coloring books and comic books he oversaw featured many of the cartoon characters he was familiar with from his years in animation. He retired after twenty-five successful years in 1972.

Tom was married for over fifty-five years to the former Ernestine Belle Lackey. They had three children Wendy, Vicky and Timothy.

His wife Ernestine died in October of 1993, and Tom passed away on Valentine's Day, 1998 in West Los Angeles.

1 comment:

David Germain said...

So, Tom McKimson is creditted with the design of Tweety, hey? About a year ago, a conflict was stirred up on John k.'s blog when he claimed that Tom McKimson told him that it was actually Bob Clampett's unit that created Sylvester rather than Friz Freleng's. But, I then wondered how Sylvester's screen debut was in a Friz Freleng cartoon.

Do you know the story of Sylvester's creation?