Monday, January 20, 2014

R.I.P. Michael Sporn (1946-2014)

Woke up on January 20, the birthday of a great man, Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr. and while preparing to watch the Eyes On The Prize documentary series, learned that the multi-talented and lionhearted animator/historian Michael Sporn passed away yesterday. Michael was a brilliant animator, historian and mentor to many. Eloquent tributes have been penned by authors Michael Barrier and Jerry Beck, filmmaker Mark Mayerson and archivist Steve Stanchfield of Thunderbean Animation, as well as Animation Magazine and Variety.

This loss hits the animation and film historian communities hard, as did the untimely passings of the much-missed Earl Kress and, a few years back in 2005, Joe Ranft.

Besides writing arguably the best animation history blog of them all, Sporn was responsible for many terrific films. He was nominated for an Oscar for his superb adaptation of William Steig's book Doctor DeSoto and won a slew of Emmys. Here's his film of Rosemary Wells' book, Morris' Disappearing Bag.

Several of Michael Sporn's 15 adaptations of children's books for Weston Woods are on the Treasury Of 25 Storybook Classics DVD.

Doctor DeSoto (1984 Academy Award nominee) and more Michael Sporn Animation films are also on the following VHS tape of Weston Woods cartoons, The Mysterious Tadpole And Other Stories.

While I did not have the pleasure of meeting Michael in person, he corresponded with me way back when I started investigating film and animation history in the 1970's and was generous and supportive. R.I.P. and thanks for making the world a better place for lots of people, Michael.

Filmmaker-animator-historians John Canemaker and Michael Sporn

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