Full Name:

Michael Lah

Occupation / Title:


Date of birth:


Date of death:



Waukegan, Illinois


Michael Lah was a noted MGM animator and director, as well as being the understudy of Tex Avery. Lah helped redesign the well-known Barney Bear character, and directed many screwball cartoons, including one that garnered him an Academy Award nomination. 

Career outline

In 1938, Lah joined HarmanIsing Productions, becoming a full-fledged animator before leaving for MGM’s newly created cartoon department a year later, working under Fred Quimby.

He animated for director George Gordon on the Barney Bear series from 1944-45, and worked for Dick Lundy from 1952-54.

Lah’s work includes technicoour cartoons such as Bear Raid Warden (1944), Barney Bear’s Polar Pest (1944), Busybody Bear (1953), and Bird-Brain Bird Dog (1954), the last cartoon in the Barney Bear series.

He continued working for MGM, joining Hanna and Barbera‘s unit, contributing to Tom and Jerry cartoons such as Solid Serenade in 1946, and Part-Time Pal (1947).

In the late 40’s, Lah redesigned with animator Preston Blair Barney Bear, and directed the character in three memorable Technicolor cartoons, The Bear and the Bean (1948), The Bear and the Hare (1948) and lastly Goggle Fishing Bear (1949).

Some of Lah’s most memorable work was done as an animator in Tex Avery‘s animation unit at MGM, where he drew some of Avery‘s best cartoons from the late 40’s and 50’s. These include cartoons such as Doggone Tired (1949), Rock-A-Bye Bear (1952), and later on Little Johnny Jet (1953), nominated for an Oscar.

In the late 50’s, Lah was back to directing, this time on the Droopy cartoon series, starring the bloodhound, produced by Hanna and Barbera. These cartoons include Blackboard Jumble (1957), One Droopy Knight (1957), Mutts about Racing (1958), and the Lah’s final production Droopy Leprechaun (1958).

After the closing of MGM’s animation department due to financial strains, Hanna and Barbera hired on Lah to work at their production company, where he was put in charge of animating the new Quick Draw McGraw television cartoon series which ran from 1959-62.

Lah found his own commercial studio later on, and through the 60’s and 70’s produced many television commercials which featured animated characters such as the Cheerios Bee, Jolly Green Giant, Count Chocula, Trix Rabbit as well as Tony the Tiger.

Lah passed away at the age of 83 in North Hollywood, California in 1995.   



  • Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons . New York : Applause Theatre & Cinema Books , 2006 . Print.

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