Chuck Jones

Charles M. Jones

Highest Rated: 100% The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979)

Lowest Rated: 80% Gay Purr-ee (1962)

Birthday: Sep 21, 1912

Birthplace: Spokane, Washington, USA

Animator and filmmaker Chuck Jones helped to define or create some of the most iconic cartoon characters in screen history, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, and injected a blend of intelligent banter and unbridled absurdity into countless cartoons for Warner Bros. and other studios over the course of a celebrated and Oscar-winning career. Born Charles Martin Jones on September 21, 1912 in Spokane, Washington, he and his three siblings were raised in Los Angeles, California. He credited his initial interest in art to his father, an aspiring but largely unsuccessful businessman who bought supplies of pencils and paper for each new venture; when the business failed to take root, he turned the materials over to his children, who used them to hone their talents in drawing. Jones continued his training at the Chouinard Art Institute (later the California Institute of the Arts) in Pasadena, California, and upon graduation, supported himself by selling pencil portraits on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles before taking a job as a cel washer at the studio of former Disney animator Ub Iwerks. He soon worked his way up to assistant animator before Iwerks terminated his position; Jones then worked briefly for producers Charles Mintz and Walter Lantz - the creator of Woody Woodpecker - before rejoining and then leaving Iwerks for a second time. But Iwerks' secretary, Dorothy Webster - who would become Jones' first wife in 1936 - secured him a position as assistant animator at Leon Schlesinger Productions, an independent studio that produced the "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" cartoons for Warner Bros. Schelsinger promoted Jones to animator in 1935 and assigned him to director Tex Avery's unit, which included "Beany and Cecil" creator Bob Clampett; the unit was housed in a small bungalow adjacent to the studio that the animators famously dubbed "Termite Terrace." There, Jones would make his debut as animation director on "The Night Watchman" (1938), and created his first original character, a winsome mouse named Sniffles (designed by Disney artist Charles Thorson), who starred in 12 cartoons between 1939 and 1946. Jones would create a slew of additional characters, including the hapless Three Bears, squabbling mice Hubie and Bertie, and the stereotypical African tribesman Inki, and worked with Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) on the Army education shorts featuring Private Snafu, before focusing his attention on the "Merrie Melodies" cast of characters. Jones directed the second and third cartoons to feature Bugs Bunny - 1939's "Prest-o Change-0" and "Elmer's Candid Camera" (1940), the latter also starring Elmer Fudd - and along with Tex Avery and artist Bob Givens, would be largely responsible for shaping the character's personality from a manic zany to a sardonic, prank-loving wiseguy. Jones also reworked another enduring "Merrie Melodies" character, Daffy Duck, who became an easily flustered opportunist whose squabbles with Bugs and Elmer Fudd comprised some of the best Warner cartoons of the 1950s ("Rabbit Season," 1951), and created four of the studio's most memorable characters: the amorous, Charles Boyer-inspired skunk Pepe LePew, ambitious alien Marvin the Martian, and Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, whose largely silent adventures became wry exercises in the inherent absurdity of overzealous pursuits and blind faith. Jones would win his first Oscar for Best Animated Short with a Pepe LePew cartoon, "For Scent-imental Reasons" (1949) and earned a second Oscar, this time for Documentary Short Subject, with "So Much for So Little" (1949), which promoted proper healthcare for infants, but the humorous output of Merrie Melodies and Loony Tunes remained his primary showcase, and he would direct some of his most enduring efforts in the 1950s, including "One Froggy Evening" (1955), another parable about blind ambition, this time focused on the discovery of a singing frog. ""What's Opera, Doc?" (1957), which used Wagner's "Ring Saga" as a backdrop for a battle between Elmer and Bugs, would later be named the greatest cartoon of all time. Jones' tenure with Warner Bros. would come to an abrupt end when he and wife Dorothy penned the animated feature "Gay Purr-ee" (1962) for UPA; the studio terminated him for breach of contract, and Jones, along with most of his animation staff, moved to MGM, where they reworked the venerable Tom and Jerry cartoons for a new series between 1963 and 1967. With Maurice Noble, he also earned a third Oscar in 1965 for his adaptation of Norman Juster's allegorical story "The Dot and The Line." With the end of the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons in 1967 and closure of the MGM animation unit in 1970, he opened his own animation studio, Chuck Jones Enterprises, which produced some of the most memorable animated specials for television. Chief among these were two reunions with Dr. Seuss on "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (CBS, 1966), with Grammy-winning narration by Boris Karloff, and "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat" (CBS, 1971), as well as adaptations of George Selden's "The Cricket in Times Square" (ABC, 1973) and a feature version of Norman Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth" in 1969. Jones also returned to the Looney Tunes stable on several occasions, producing the compilation film "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie" in 1979 and new Road Runner shorts for "The Electric Company" (PBS, 1971-77). Though he claimed to be semi-retired in the 1980s and 1990s, Jones was remarkable active in a variety of capacities, including acting cameos in Joe Dante's "Gremlins" (1984) and "Innerspace" (1987) - and the creation of new Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck animation for "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990). He received an honorary Oscar and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1996 shortly before completing his final Looney Tunes short, "From Hare to Eternity" (1997). Jones would issue one last animated project - a series of shorts featuring a character called Thomas Timber Wolf, whom he had created in the 1960s - which were released online by Warner Bros. in 2000. Two years later, Jones succumbed to heart failure at the age of 89 on February 22, 2002.

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood Unknown (Character) - 2009
No Score Yet 100% The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story Himself (Character) - 1999
No Score Yet 71% Daffy Duck's Quackbusters Director - 1988
100% 87% The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie Director,
Writer,
Producer
- 1979
No Score Yet 65% Bugs Bunny's Howl-oween Director - 1978
No Score Yet 78% Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Director - 1975
No Score Yet No Score Yet Cricket in Times Square Director - 1973
100% 76% The Phantom Tollbooth Director - 1969
100% 98% How the Grinch Stole Christmas Director - 1967
No Score Yet No Score Yet Much Ado About Mousing Director - 1964
No Score Yet No Score Yet Now Hear This Director,
Screenwriter
- 1963
80% 78% Gay Purr-ee Screenwriter - 1962
No Score Yet No Score Yet Adventures of the Road-Runner Director,
Screenwriter
- 1962
No Score Yet 91% What's Opera, Doc? Director - 1957
No Score Yet 87% One Froggy Evening Director - 1955
No Score Yet 91% Duck Amuck Director - 1953
No Score Yet 57% Bugs Bunny's Easter Special Director - 1953
No Score Yet No Score Yet A Hound for Trouble Director - 1951
No Score Yet 80% The Scarlet Pumpernickel Director - 1950
No Score Yet 95% Rabbit of Seville Director - 1950
No Score Yet No Score Yet For Scent-imental Reasons Director - 1949
No Score Yet No Score Yet Often an Orphan Director - 1949
No Score Yet No Score Yet So Much for So Little Director,
Screenwriter
- 1949
No Score Yet No Score Yet In the Aleutians Director - 1945
No Score Yet 100% Hare Conditioned Director - 1945
No Score Yet No Score Yet A Lecture on Camouflage Director - 1944
No Score Yet No Score Yet Going Home Director - 1944
No Score Yet 75% Coming! Snafu Director - 1943
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Infantry Blues Director - 1943
No Score Yet No Score Yet Spies Director - 1943
No Score Yet No Score Yet Fox Pop Director,
Writer
- 1942

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet The New Dick Van Dyke Show Unknown (Guest Star) 1973
No Score Yet No Score Yet Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Director
No Score Yet No Score Yet Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume 2 Director
No Score Yet No Score Yet Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume 3 Director
No Score Yet No Score Yet Tom and Jerry Theatricals Producer,
Director
1967 1965

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