Acclaimed animator who created Roger Rabbit dies aged 86

Acclaimed animator Richard Williams, who worked on hit films including Roger Rabbit and the Pink Panther, has died.

The 86-year-old triple Oscar and triple Bafta winner, who was born in Toronto, Canada and moved to Britain in the 1950s, died at his home in Bristol on Friday, his family announced.

Williams was the animation director on the 1988 blockbuster Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – creating characters including Roger and Jessica Rabbit.

Diana, Princess of Wales meets cartoon star Roger Rabbit and his co-star Bob Hoskins (PA)
Diana, Princess of Wales meets cartoon star Roger Rabbit and his co-star Bob Hoskins (PA)

The live-action animated film starring Bob Hoskins, saw Williams win a Bafta as well as two Oscars for his work.

Williams also animated the title sequences for the 1970s comedy classics The Return Of The Pink Panther and The Pink Panther Strikes Again, and worked on Casino Royale.

Williams has previously credited Snow White – which he saw at the age of five – as having a “tremendous impression” on him.

“I always wanted, when I was a kid, to get to Disney. I was a clever little fellow so I took my drawings and I eventually got in,” Williams told the BBC in 2008.

“They did a story on me, and I was in there for two days, which you can imagine what it was like for a kid.”

After that he said he was advised to learn how to draw properly and admitted he “lost all interest in animation” until he was 23 – throwing himself into art.

He said he was drawn back to the craft because his “paintings were trying to move”.

His first film, The Little Island, was released in 1958 and scooped a Bafta, and his animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 1971 saw him take home his first Oscar.

During his lengthy career, Williams also wrote a how-to book called The Animator’s Survival Kit and was animating and writing until the day he died.

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