Pete AlvaradoOccupation / Title:
22/02/1920Date of death:
Pete Alvarado was born in 1920 and was raised in Glendale, California. He attended Chouinard Art Institute. Soon after graduating from art school he was hired at Disney as an animation assistant and first worked on Snow White and Dumbo. He worked mostly on shorts by Disney as a background artist and later as a layout artist. Pete soon left Disney to serve in World War II as a marine.
Upon his return he moved to New York and found work as a comic book and cartoon strip artist. Eventually Pete moved back to California and worked long stints at animation studios such as Warner Bros., Disney, and MGM. Over his sixty year career Pete Alvarado has worked with almost every major publisher and studio in the cartoon industry. He has illustrated comic books, coloring books, comic strips, and dozens of Little Golden Books. He was awarded the Winsor McKay Award for his lifetime achievement and the Screen Cartoonist Guild Golden Award for his commitment to the craft. He died Decamber 27, 2003.
Family and early life
Pete Alvarado spent his childhood and early part of his adulthood in Glendale, CA. In his adult life his family included his wife, Kathleen, son Peter III, and daughter Paula, grandson, David, and sisters Juanita and Dolores.
Pete Alvarado’s prolific professional career in the cartoon and comic book industries started at Disney as an animation assistant and worked on Snow White and Dumbo. He soon moved to New York and found work as a comic book artist for many different publishers including a company called Timely (later changing its name to Marvel).
He worked in New York for eighteen months and had made ties and connections with various publishers including Western Publishing. Within Western, Pete worked on coloring books, kids’ books, comic books and later newspaper comic strips. Roy Rogers was a title Pete worked on with Charles McKimson and the strip was signed “Al McKimson”, which was a combonation of both Pete and Charles’ names.
After Roy Rogers, Pete decided he wanted to stick with the funny animal cartoony style of strips. These types of strips were a lot of fun for Pete and he could let his sense of humor out in the characters’ expressions and movements. Soon Pete returned to California still continuing to illustrate comic strips and comic books, but with a continued focus at the animation studios. Pete illustrated the entire run of Mr. Magoo comic strips and often filled-in on many Disney strips as well as Hanna-Barbara titles, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones. Later on Pete became the main artist on Donald Duck.
He also spent a long time working for the Dell/ Gold Key series that often would take animated cartoons an features and render them in book form. Pete a master at taking the look of the animated character and drawing the characters with more expression and flair than the original version. Pete often penciled 20 – 40 pages of sequential art all the way up into his late seventies.
Upon his return to California from New York, Pete started working at Warner Bros. in the time called the Golden Era. He worked mainly on the short animations as a background and layout artist. His first on-screen credit was the second Pepe LePew cartoon entitled, Scent-imental Over You (1947). He worked alongside Chuck Jones designing and developing the look of the backgrounds in the first Road Runner cartoon. Pete worked as a contract artist and a freelance artist for almost every major animation studio, such as Warner Bros, Disney, MGM, UPA, Hanna-Barbara, Filmation, Marvel, Depatie-Freleng, Krantz, Sanrio, and Ruby-Spears as well as many others.
Pete Alvarado has worked for almost every animation company and publisher out there. He was able to take and adapt to any character and style for any project. He was often hired to take Warner Bros. and Disney characters and putting them into comic book for keeping to the design and the style of each character. He brought intensive care and love to each project whether illustration a character of background.
Growing up in the nineteen twenties and thirties, and being exposed to cartoons like the Allice Comedies, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and Mickey Mouse, it would be fair to say that these were the primary reasons for him wanting to be an animator. When he was in the Institute which was being financially helped by Walt Disney, he and his classmates immediately went over to Disney when they finished.
Honors and awards
He won an Annie Award: the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. In 1987 Alvarado won the Golden Award presented by the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists (formerly the Screen Cartoonists Guild).
- Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006.
- Pete Alvarado by John Crawley
- Pete Alvarado by Mark Evanier