King of the Hill and Silicon Valley co-creator Mike Judge has been recognized for his contribution to the craft and help in organizing fellow wordsmiths in the animation industry by the Writers Guild of America, West, which has named him the recipient of its Animation Writers Caucus 2016 Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement.
“We’re very excited for Mike Judge to receive this long-overdue honor. His contributions to the field of animation, among them the groundbreaking Beavis and Butt-Head, and the long-running hit King of the Hill, have advanced the form of animation storytelling and continue to be a benchmark for creators everywhere,” said WGAW Vice President David A. Goodman. “We applaud the risk he took to guarantee making King of the Hill a WGA-covered show, which to this day helps the Guild chip away at the precedents that keep writers who work in animation from receiving the guarantees and benefits of our union.”
WGAW Animation Writers Caucus Chair Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie also offered her congratulations to Judge “on behalf of all animation writers.”
A member of the WGAW since 1998, Judge was born in Ecuador in 1962, grew up in Albuquerque and attended UC San Diego, earning a degree in Physics. After an eclectic series of stints in engineering and professional baseball, Judge’s animation career took off when his short Frog Baseball (1992) was picked up by MTV.
The network then made the decision to offer Judge a series inspired by his recurring short film characters, Beavis and Butt-head, which brought the continued misadventures of the metalhead teens to small screens nationwide in its original run from 1993-1997. Beavis and Butt-head earned a CableACE Award nomination for Comedy Series in 1994, and reached a high point with the theatrical release of Beavis and Butt-head Do America (directed by Judge and co-written by him with Joe Stillman). Judge resurrected the series in 2012 with 12 new episodes for MTV.
Next came the Southern slice-of-life comedy series King of the Hill for FOX TV — co-created by Judge and Greg Daniels. The show ran from 1997 to 2010 and centered on no-nonsense propane (and propane accessories) salesman Hank Hill and the utter nonsense of his family and neighbors. King of the Hill won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 1999 as well as five further Emmy nominations.
Judge received two Annie Award nominations for his voice work as Hank Hill, and won the event’s Winsor McCay Award “for career contributions to the art of animation” in 2009, as well as a Certificate of Merit (shared with Don Hertzfeldt) in 2004.
In 2009, Judge co-created with John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky the satirical animated comedy The Goode Family. On top of series helming experiences, Judge has contributed voice performances to other animated TV series like South Park, Family Guy and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. He also portrayed “Donnagon” in the Spy Kids movie trilogy.
In the course of his career, Judge also wrote and directed live-action films, notably 1999 cult comedy Office Space, based on his Milton animated shorts; 2006’s Idiocracy; and 2009’s Extract.
Currently, Judge is co-creator, executive producer, writer and director for HBO’s Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated comedy series Silicon Valley (created by Judge, Altschuler & Krinsky), currently in production on its fourth season. The series has earned Judge three Primetime Emmy nominations for directing and three more shared for Outstanding Comedy Series; two Writers Guild Awards nominations for Comedy Series and one for New Series; and further nods from DGA and PGA. The show also won the SXSW Film Festival’s Audience Award for Episodic in 2014 in Judge’s current hometown of Austin, Texas.