Chuck Jones Biography-A Brief History Of Warner Bros. Animation

Chuck Jones

The Masters Of Warner Bros. Animation worked in a run-down back lot building known as ‘Termite Terrace’. Warner Bros. emerged by the 1940’s as the dominant studio in animated short subjects, a result of the extraordinary talent of the directors, animators, voice talents, writers and musical direction of their production units.

Among the best known Warner Bros. artists, Chuck Jones (1912-2002) directed many of their classic and timeless cartoon shorts, and along the way created some of the most famous, memorable characters including Pepe Le Pew, Marvin The Martian, Wile and Road Runner and Michigan J. Frog. Inspired by many great cartoon moments, Jones created outstanding artwork featuring your favorite Warner Bros. characters. Chuck Jones passed away 2/22/02 at the age of 89 following several months of poor health. He will forever be recognized and appreciated through his timeless art and film.
Jones began his career in the early 1930’s as a cel washer at Ub Iwerks studio. Advancing to animator at Warner Bros., under the direction of Tex Avery, Jones worked on the earliest Porky Pig cartoons. Promoted to Director in 1938, Jones was instrumental in developing Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Daffy Duck as well as setting the fast-paced tone of Warner Bros. cartoons in general.
Academy Award-winning animator Chuck Jones animated and directed such beloved cartoon characters in hundreds of animated films. He worked on more than 300 animated films in a career that spanned more than 60 years. Three of his films won Academy Awards and he was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1996 for lifetime achievement. He also received an honorary life membership from the Directors Guild of America.

Working at Warner Bros., Jones helped bring to life some of the studio’s most recognizable characters. In addition to Bugs and Daffy, he worked on the fast-moving, beep-beeping Road Runner and his hapless pursuer, Wile E. Coyote. He also drew Pepe le Pew, the romantic-minded skunk with a French accent.

The animator’s work won him admirers throughout the entertainment business. “Chuck Jones’ originality, his humor and his pacing still have no peer today,” director Steven Spielberg once said. Speilberg called Jones’ “One Froggy Evening” the ‘Citizen Kane’ of animated film when interviewd by PBS for an hour-long special on the life of Jones called “Extremes & Inbetweens: A Life In Animation”.

Three of Jones’ films won Academy Awards: “Frigid Hare,” “So Much, So Little” and “The Dot and the Line,” for which Jones also received a directing Oscar.

One of Jones’ most popular films, “What’s Opera, Doc?” was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1992 for being “among the most culturally, historically and aesthetically significant films of our time.” In the book “The World’s Fifty Greatest Cartoons”, Jones’ “What’s Opera, Doc?” was voted number one by filmmakers, historians and critics.

Born in 1912 in Spokane, Wash., Jones moved to Hollywood with his family, finding work there as a child extra in Mac Sennett comedies. After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of Arts), he began making a living drawing pencil portraits on Olvera Street, a historic Los Angeles marketplace.

He landed his first job washing animation cels in 1932, working for legendary Disney animator Ub Iwerks. A few years later, he became an animator at the Leon Schlesinger Studio, which was later sold to Warner Bros. He headed up his own unit at the Warner Bros. Animation Dept. until it closed in 1962.

He also worked for MGM Studios, creating episodes for the “Tom and Jerry” cartoon series. Jones also opened his own company, Chuck Jones Enterprises, in 1962, producing nine 30-minute animated films. While working at MGM, he also produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for the animated television classic “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, one of America’s most beloved films.

His autobiography, “Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist,” was published in 1989, followed two years later by a second book, “Chuck Reducks.”