We’re sad to report that Ken Southworth, a veteran animator who worked for Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Walter Lantz, MGM, Hanna-Barbera, Clokey Prods. and Filmation, has passed away at the age of 89. The artist and educator suffered a series of strokes on Wednesday at his home in Anaheim, Calif., according to CartoonBrew.com.
Born in 1918 in Lancashire, England, Southworth held dual citizenship but did most of his work in the states. At the age of ten, he won a scholarship to the Chicago Art Institute, where he began to hone his raw talent. He started his animation career at Walt Disney Studios in 1944. There, he did a lot of Milt Kahl’s rough animation on Alice in Wonderland, assisted Frank Thomas on the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella and worked on Legend of Sleepy Hollow and a number of shorts.
After comparatively brief stints at Walter Lantz, MGM, Rudy Cataldi Prods. and Sam Sing Prods., Southworth spent more than 21 years animating for Hanna-Barbera. There, he worked on Huckleberry Hound, The Flintstones, Top Cat, Johnny Quest, Swat Kats, Scooby Doo, The Smurfs, Dino Boy and Space Ghost. He would return to the studio in the mid-’80s to teach evening classes in basic animation.
Southworth also shared his knowledge and experience with classes and seminars at the American Animation Institute, Glendale Animation Studios, the University of California in Fullerton, VanArts, the Art Institute of Southern California in Laguna Beach and the Detroit Center for Creative Studies.