Tuesday, August 20, 2019
In memory of Richard Williams who passed away last week aged 86 his collaborator Russell Hall passed this statement along to Theresa Edwards on the 2D UK Animation People Facebook page.
'Russell Hall has asked me to post some words from him in tribute to Dick Williams:
I was very saddened to hear of Dick’s death last Friday.
By good luck I joined his studio in Soho Square in the Trace and Paint department in 1972 as the production of ‘A Christmas Carol ‘ was coming to a close.
With Dick’s encouragement ( he was always good to me) I rapidly progressed as assistant to veteran Road Runner animator Ken Harris, who spent his summers in Soho Square working on Dick’s brilliant but ill fated unfinished masterpiece ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’. Those were exciting days. Apart from Ken, Dick gathered up Disney Fantasia veteran and teacher Art Babbitt; Animation pioneer Grim Natwick ( Betty Boop and Snow White) ; New Yorker cartoonist Roland B. Wilson; Animation genius Roy Naisbitt - fresh from Kubrick’s ‘2001’ and great animator Dick Purdum. Dick Williams presence was extraordinary, always encouraging, aiming for perfection, a superb animator, amazing draftsman, a great teacher with enormous generosity and incredible stamina, he always seemed indestructible.
We all honed our skills with commercials and I was finally privileged to work on the first animation of the cobbler ( a character based on me) in ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ and then to animate Jessica Rabbit in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ by which time the Soho Square studio has closed and I, along with Carol who had started as Dick’s assistant and become his producer and who I had been with from the early days of our time at Dick’s, started our own company. Hardly a day goes by without thinking of those days and we are enormously grateful for the time spent in Soho Square.
Thanks Dick -
I am a bit sad that Dick will be remembered mostly for the remarkable ‘Roger Rabbit’ when it should be for his own ‘The Thief and the Cobbler’ and his other personal projects and short films which he achieved with such ingenuity and economy.
I am so glad that he found great happiness with his wife Imogen. Carol and I are both thinking of her and all Dick’s children at this sad time.'
Aardman Animation, where Dick was based the last few years, made a touching tribute on social media:
'Our dear friend, Richard Williams was a jewel in the crown of British animation. He was always a joy to be with, inspiring and keen to pass on his wealth of knowledge to the next generation. Dick's enthusiasm was infectious, and will be greatly missed at Aardman.'
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
"Visited the Academy archives today to sign some forms in relation to donating some Song of the Sea artwork and ended up spending hours just in awe of the original artwork from the Thief and the cobbler that they are cataloging currently . Just mind boggling and awe inspiring stuff . I'm so amazed I got to see the originals after so many years squinting at fuzzy vhs copies and online restorations . It felt like visiting The Book of Kells, this is surely the most elaborate and intricate hand drawn animation ever created - I'm so glad the art is getting the academy's careful curation after so many years in the wilderness."
See more storyboards from 'The Brigands' seq. here
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
This is an interesting development: Miramax has donated production artwork (thousands of cels, background art etc.) to the Academy and ASIFA has donated a substantial sum to curate the material. I'd love to get a look at this next year when it is opened to researchers.
Read the story here