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Chuck Jones (1912- )
"As an artist, you can look forward to agonizing frustration. But you can also look forward to moments of sheer delight. And that is what it's all about. Creative work is the most frustrating of all human vocations, and it is the only one." -- CHUCK JONES
"A small child once said to me: 'You don't draw Bugs Bunny, you draw pictures of Bugs Bunny.' That's a very profound observation because it means that he thinks the characters are alive, which, as far as I am concerned, is true," recalls animation director Chuck Jones. Jones helped bring to life many characters during the Golden Age of animation including some of Warner Bros.' most famous Looney Tunes characters -- Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig. The list of characters that he created himself goes on -- Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin Martian, Pepe Le Pew, Gossamer and many others.
Chuck Jones was born on September 21, 1912, Jones entered the fledgling animation industry in 1932 as a cel washer at Ubbe Iwerks Studio after graduating from the Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts.) He joined the Leon Schlesinger Studio, later sold to Warner Bros., as an animator in 1936. There, Jones was assigned to Tex Avery's animation unit. In 1938, at the age of 25, he directed his first animated film "The Night Watchman." Jones remained at Warner Bros. Animation until it closed in 1962, though he had a brief stint with Disney Studios in 1955 during a hiatus at Warner Bros.
In 1966, while heading up the animation division at MGM Studios, Jones directed one of the most memorable holiday television specials ever produced -- "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas." First aired on Sunday, December 18, 1966, the half-hour special was met with glowing reviews from newspapers across the country and has since become one of the most beloved holiday programs on television.
Jones has become a true icon of creativity by directing such mini-epics as "What's Opera, Doc?" (1957) which featured a Wagnerian Elmer Fudd invoking the great elements against a cunning Bugs Bunny. On Dec. 4, 1992, "What's Opera, Doc?" became the first-ever animated film to be inducted into the National Film Registry -- an honor bestowed on only 100 films to date -- for being "among the most culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films of our time."
At the age of 86, Jones has enjoyed more than 60 years in animation and is still very active. In 1993 he contracted with Warner Bros. To create animated short subjects for theatrical release using many of the classic Warner Bros. Characters. Over the next three years he produced six films, four of which he directed himself, starting with "Chariots of Fur" in 1994.
Jones has created over 300 animated films in his career, has won four Academy Awards, including an Honorary Oscar in 1996. He has been awarded two Honorary Doctorates and has received countless awards and distinctions from throughout the world, most recently the Directors Guild of America's Honorary Life Membership. In the late 1970s, as artwork of the Warner Bros. and other classic animated characters became increasingly sought after, Jones began to create limited edition images depicting scenes from his most enduring cartoons. Today, Jones is the most widely collected animation artist in the world. His art has been exhibited in hundreds of galleries and museums throughout the world, including a one-man film retrospective at MoMA in New York City and a permanent three-story mural at the Museum of the Moving Image in London.