Because this weekend wasn’t difficult enough already, 2017 has claimed two more legends that hit close to home for me.
Robert “Bob” Givens was a legendary animator and frequent collaborator with Chuck Jones, known for his outstanding work at Disney, Warner Bros. Cartoons, Hanna-Barbera, and DePatie–Freleng Enterprises. His career spanned from 1937-2001. His career began at Disney working as an animation checker on short subjects (especially Donald Duck) before working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Later, when he joined Warner Bros., he worked mostly under Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, the latter of whom asked him to redesign an unnamed character, previously designed that he felt had potential but was “too cute.” Givens subsequently created the first official design for “Tex’s rabbit” for the 1940 cartoon short “The Wild Hare.” That character is, of course, Bugs Bunny. After serving in WWII, Givens returned to animation, working on such notable projects as Tom and Jerry, Garfield and Friends, and Bobby’s World. He passed away on the 14th of natural causes at age 99.
Dorothy Jacqueline Keely, known professionally as Keely Smith, was a jazz / pop singer of Irish and Cherokee ancestry. She earned fame in the 50s alongside her then-husband Louis Prima, and as a solo vocalist in the 60s under musical director Nelson Riddle. She and Prima won the first Grammy ever in 1959 for Best Performance by a Vocal Group, and she received another Grammy nomination for Keely Sings Sinatra in 2001. She passed away from heart failure on the 16th at age 89.
The world’s brighter for their contributions. They will be missed.