Gene Deitch, an Oscar-winning animator, illustrator, film director and producer, has died. He was 95.

According to reports, Deitch died ‘unexpectedly’ in his apartment.

Deitch’s Famous Works

He’s the man behind Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Though Deitch’s career spanned several decades, he’s perhaps famous as the director of Tom & Jerry classics.

Throughout his directorship, he created 13 episodes of Tom & Jerry cartoons.

With his work, he brought so much laughter to the world through his works, while working for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Deitch also directed Popeye.

He directed numerous Popeye cartoons, which featured a Spinach eating sailorman.

His Early Life

Born Eugene Merrill Deitch in Chicago, of Czech origin, Deitch initially enrolled for the military, joining pilot training at North American Aviation.

While in the aviation school, Deitch met his first love and wife, Marie, whom he had three sons with.

Unfortunately, at just 19-years-old, he got pneumonia and was honorably discharged from the armed forces for health reasons.

Following his discharge, Deitch began submitting artwork and front covers to different magazines in the US, gaining pubic recognition.

He Later Studied Animation

And he became the director of Terrytoons, creating characters such as Gaston Le Crayon, Clint Clobber and Sidney the Elephant.

He Also Worked on Comic Strips Too

And the success of The Real-Great Adventures of Terr’ble Thompson!, Hero of History, led to a daily strip!

Deitch later moved back to his native land Prague, Czechoslovakia. And within days, he met Zdenka Najmanová, who became his second wife.

He captured life in communist Czechoslovakia and later in the Czech Republic after the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution in his memoirs For the Love of Prague.

Deitch Later Moved Back to America

And from 1969 until retirement in 2008, he was the leading animation director for the Connecticut organization Weston Woods Studios.

From Drummer Hoff in 1969 to Voyage to the Bunny Planet in 2008, he created over 37 films for the franchise.

Back in 2003, Deitch was awarded the Annie Awards’ Winsor McCay Award for a lifetime contribution to the art of animation.

And Deitch deserved the huge award—he brought so much joy to the world through his animations.

Deitch Passed Away Aged 95

Deitch tragically died on April 16 in his apartment in Prague.

He’s survived by his wife and three sons from his first marriage, all of whom are cartoonists and illustrators.

Rest in peace Gene Deitch. Your life’s work will continue to make millions of children and adults alike laugh for generations to come.