Edward (Ed) BenedictOccupation / Title:
23/08/1912Date of death:
Ed Benedict was born in Ohio in 1912. Known as one of the “greats” of animation’s Golden Age, he began at Disney in 1930 and continued his career working at Universal on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and MGM under Tex Avery. He is best known as the primary designer of such Hanna-Barbera stars as Yogi Bear and The Flintstones. Benedict moved to Carmel, California in the 1960′s and continued freelancing until retirement. He died in his sleep at 94 in his Auburn, California home. He was predeceased by his wife Alice, and survived by his children and grandchildren. He requested that his ashes be scattered over California’s Carmel Bay, where his wife’s ashes were also scattered.
Family and early life
Brother Bill Sister Miriam Wife- Alice Children: – Son, Donald – Son, Allan Grandchildren – Derek and Peter (Donald’s children).
Benedict began his career in animation at Disney in 1930, working on such early films as The China Plate and Blue Rhythm (both 1931), starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse. He moved to Universal in 1933 to work on Walter Lantz’s Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts. He spent much of the 1930′s at Universal, aside from a brief stint with Mintz and an attempt to open his own studio (Benedict-Brewer, with Jerry Brewer). The studio collapsed because studio-owned theatres would not show their independently produced work.
In the early 1940s Benedict returned to Disney and worked on several industrial/educational films (Dawn of Better Living, etc.), and also received his first and only Disney credit as a layout artist (the Willie the Whale segment) on Make Mine Music. Mid-1940s, he became involved with TV commercial animation at Paul Fennell’s Cartoon films, where he honed his modernized approach to drawing. In 1952, Benedict was recruited by his former Universal colleague Tex Avery to become Avery’s lead layout artist and designer at MGM. Ed designed a number of Avery’s classic shorts including Dixieland Droopy, Feld and Scream, The First Bad Man, Deputy Droopy, and Cellbound.
After Avery’s departure from MGM, Benedict continued working at the studio on the Mike Lah-directed Droopy shorts, while also freelancing for Avery on TV commercials at Cascade. While at MGM, Ed’s work caught the eyes of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. Hanna asked Benedict to design a dog and a cat for a TV project, which turned out to be the first Hanna-Barbera TV success: THE RUFF AND REDDY SHOW. During the late-1950s and early-1960s, Benedict became the primary designer for Hanna-Barbera and he designed most of the studio’s early stars including Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, The Flintstones, Snagglepuss and countless others.
He not only created memorable characters, but also placed them in memorable settings, breaking TV taboos. In The Flintstones, Fred and Wilma were the first animated couple to be shown sleeping in the same bed. It would not be an exaggeration to say that a large part of H-B’s success in TV animation is owed to Benedict’s incredibly appealing and fun character designs. Ed moved to Carmel, California in the 1960s and continued freelancing for various studios during the 1960s and ’70s before retiring. (Cartoon Brew)
His style was to draw heavily outlined figures, with unusual asymmetry and flat geometric shapes. The simplicity of his characters enabled Hanna Barbera to make cartoons for television at less than half the budget previously allocated for such films in the cinema. – Matthew Bannister (“last word”, BBC) Ed Benedict’s distinctive style, most noticeable in his Hanna-Barbera creations, was striking with its charm and warmth. His creations were very stylized, with their heavy lines and stubby limbs. Though they were drawn in a flat manner, they were not bland, and exuded strong personalities that led to great popularity with the public.
Russell Patterson and Roy Nelson
Honors and awards
Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1994
- http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0070768/ - Ed Benedict on IMDB
- http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2006/08/ed-benedict-1912-2006.html – John Kricfalusi’s Blog
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/lastword_22sept2006.shtml - Matthew Bannister, “Last word”, BBC
- http://www.cartoonbrew.com/archives/2006_08.html - Cartoon Brew
- Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006.