Stephen Bosustow

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Full Name:

Stepher Bosustow

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Nominated for 14 Academy Awards, Bosustow was an influential animator who co-founded United Productions of America (UPA) Studios. Bosustow started working in animation as an assistant to Ub Iwerks in the early 1930’s. The next year found him working as an in-betweener on Walter Lantz’s <i> Oswald the Lucky Rabbit</i>. In 1934 he began working at Walt Disney Studios as an animator and writer. He stayed with the studio for seven years until the animators’ strike in 1941. While there, he worked on Mickey Mouse cartoons and feature films such as <i> Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs</i> (1937) and <i> Bambi</i> (1942. ) He found a job working at Hughes Aircraft Company in the illustration department. Bosustow merged his talent with other former Disney artists, Zachary Schwartz and David Hilberman, when he convinced his bosses to allow him to produce a short safety film. The partnership produced other safety videos that led to the formation of their own company: Industrial Films and Poster Service. This would later become UPA studios, going through two name changes. UPA produced many wartime shorts for the Army, Navy, and Office of War Information. In 1949 the company moved to Burbank. It was here that UPA would revolutionize the industry. Columbia Pictures signed UPA to a contract in 1948 that would have the company make for theatrical cartoon shorts that were highly successful. Each cartoon featured the new animation style that utilized a minimal drawing style. The first was <i> Robin Hoodlum</i> (1948) that was nominated for an Academy Award. UPA’s characters Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing Boing would win three Oscars for the company. In 1961, Bosustow sold his share of the company. He formed Stephen Bosustow Productions and made educational shorts and documentaries right up to the 1980’s.  He won his last Academy Award in 1970 for <i> Is It Always Right to Be Right?</i>.  

Family and early life

Bosustow developed an early love of drawing cartoons. He won a water color contest  hosted by his grammar school. At 11, he moved to Los Angeles where he later attended Lincoln High School. After graduation, he held a variety of jobs  while working as a drummer in bands around Los Angeles.

Personal style

Bosustow’s cartoons were drawn without excess and utilized a minimalist approach.

Honors and awards

Oscar: Best Short Subject, Cartoons: Gerald McBoing-Boing (1951) Oscar: Best Short Subject, Cartoons for: When Magoo Flew (1954) Oscar: Best Short Subject, Cartoons for: Magoo’s Puddle Jumper (1956) Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1983



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