Filed under: People, Animator, Cartoonist, Comic Strip Artist, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, Color, Daffy Duck, Early Sound, Hanna-Barbera Studios, Joe Barbera, Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, Oswald, Speedy Gonzales, Technicolor, The Road Runner, U.S.A., Walter Lantz, Walter Lantz Productions, Warner Bros., Woody Woodpecker,
Laverne HardingOccupation / Title:
10/10/1905Date of death:
Laverne Harding was the second female studio animator in history, and one of the first to receive onscreen credit for her work. She started out as an inker for the Walter Lantz Productions, moving on to do animation work for several of the Lantz Production cartoons. After Lantz, Harding went on to animate several Looney Tunes characters.
In 1932, Harding was studying in Los Angelesat the Chouinard Art Institute. She began making comics, creating the Cynical Susie newspaper cartoon strip for United Feature Syndicate that same year.
At Walter Lantz Productions, Harding worked on the Oswald, Andy Panda and Woody Woodpecker cartoons. She received one of the first onscreen credits for a female animator for the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon Wolf! Wolf! (1934). During this time, Harding worked on four Academy Award-nominated animations, including Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B (1941), the Swing Symphony cartoon Jukebox Jamboree (1942), Fish Fry (1944) and the Technicolor short Crazy Mixed Up Pup (1955). By 1938, her name was shown in credits as her real name, Laverne Harding. It had original been written as “Verne,” so as to provide a certain ambiguity as to her gender. By this time she was being fully recognized, and emerging as an inspirational role model to other women in animation.
Her work on the Woody Woodpecker series was particularly acknowledged, as she created a character design which became the standard until 1999. Harding worked at Walter Lantz Productions until 1960, after which she worked for a short time on Walter Lantz property comics at Dell Publications.
She then went back into animation for Hanna-Barbera, for cartoons such as Yogi Bear, and the popular Quick Draw McGraw series. For DePatie-Freleng Enterprises she worked on the Pink Panther cartoons, including the Academy Award winning cartoon The Pink Phink (1964). She moved on to Warner Bros for a short time in the late 60s, where she stayed until the animation division shut down in 1969. Here she animated an assortment of cartoons such as Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, Road Runner, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.
After this, she went to Filmation for the last stint of her career. Here she worked on Treasure Island (1972), Oliver Twist (1973), Lassie Rescue Rangers (1973-75), Star Trek (1973-75) and Journey Back to Oz (1974).
In 1980 she became one of only nine women to receive the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the most prestigious awards in animation.
Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television’s Award-winning and Legendary Animators.Minnesota: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006