Frederick Bean (Fred, Tex) AveryOccupation / Title:
08/02/1908Date of death:
Tex Avery was a natural artist from a young age, he did a comic book in high school, and he went to an art college. He was famous for producing cartoons during the “Golden Age of Hollywood”. He is most synonymous for the work he did for Warner Bros. (working in the famous “Termite Terrace”) also working for Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios, creating the characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Droopy. His work had a vast far-reaching influence in the 1940’s and 1950’s. “Avery’s directing style broke the mold of strict realism established by Walt Disney”. He died on the job at Hanna Barbera Studios (had been suffering from lung cancer for a year)
Family and early life
Parents, George Walton Avery and Mary Augusta “Jessie” Bean Paternal grandparents, Needham Avery and Lucinda C. Baxley Maternal grandparents, Frederick Mumford Bean and Minnie Edgar Tex’s interest in animation began at an early age. He started drawing comic strips in high school. Where he came up with the famous catch phrase “what’s up doc”. He graduated from high school in 1926.
While at Walter Lantz studios, Avery did work on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon series. He left Lantz studios and had the opportunity to lead his own production team with Warner Bros. In 1935, he was assigned the Looney Toons cartoon series. Along with his creative team of Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, and Frank Tashlin, Avery had the almost insurmountable task of dethroning the Walt Disney Studio, who were the kings of short animated film at the time. They succeeded by creating such lunatic, zany characters, like Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny.
“Unlike Disney, Avery cartoons had their own personality”. He later went on to work for MGM in 1941, and created characters like The Wolf, Droopy, and Screwball “Screwy” Squirrel. After MGM, Avery went back to Lantz studios for a short time and directed four cartoons, which introduced the character Chilly Willy the penguin. In the 1960’s Tex got involved in commercials for Raid, and Frito Lay’s. His final employer was Hanna Barbera studio, where he wrote gags for Saturday morning cartoons like Kwicky Koala.
Avery had a terrific, zany sense of humor, which showed in his films. His favorite story’s to tell were the American “tall tales”, that were predominant in Texas. Also I found it interesting that he couldn’t see out of his left eye, thus his depth of perception was hindered. But in my opinion it didn’t take away from his films, instead it added a sort of “bizarre directional style”. I also like how Avery disregarded realism in his works, like laws of gravity, and life and death situations. His characters personalities were very dynamic, almost insane at times (good example would be Daffy Duck).
Walter Lantz Walt Disney Telling his Texas sized “tall tales” and stories. Appealing to grown ups as well as children. The loss of vision in his left eye as a result of “horse play” by his co-workers, instead of hindering him, it inspired him to a “driving perfectionism”.
Honors and awards
Academy Award/Oscar: (1943) Nominated for Best Short Subject, Cartoons for: Wolf Blitz (1942) Annie Award: (1974) Winsor McCay Award
- Bright Lights Film Journal/ The Life and Career of Tex Avery
- Lenburg, Jeff. The Great Cartoon Directors. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1983.
- Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006.
- Place-Verghnes, Floriane. Tex Avery: A Unique Legacy (1942-1955). New York: John Libbey, 1993.