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Richard Williams, Oscar-Winning 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' Animator, Dies at 86

The Hollywood Reporter logo The Hollywood Reporter 8/17/2019 Alex Ritman
Richard Williams wearing a blue shirt © Nick Beek-Sanders

Richard Williams, the triple Oscar-winning and triple BAFTA-winning animator famed for his work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, has died. He was 86.

His family announced that he died at his home in the British city of Bristol on August 16.

Born in Toronto but having moved to the U.K. in the 1950s, Williams – who claimed he was drawn to illustrations and animation having watched Disney's Snow White aged five – received critical acclaim with his first film The Little Island, which won a BAFTA in 1958. His first Oscar would come in 1971 for his animated adaptation of A Christmas Carol. 

Williams also worked on two Pink Panther films and Casino Royal, but it was his work as animation director on Robert Zemeckis' 1988 comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit? which would cement his name into animation folklore. The live-action/animated comedy starring Bob Hoskins was a critical and commercial hit, earning $330 million and becoming the first live-action/animation hybrid film to win multiple Academy Awards since Mary Poppins in 1964. Two of the film's three Oscars went to Williams, who also won a visual effects BAFTA.

Elsewhere, Williams directed, produced and wrote his unfinished feature film The Thief and the Cobbler, a painstakingly hand-animated epic inspired by Arabian Nights, which he started in 1964 and is considered his magnum opus. 

Williams was also an author and teacher. His best-selling book The Animator's Survival Kit is considered a bible in the industry, and has ben sold around the world and translated into nine languages. 

Williams was still animating and writing till he day he died. 

In memoriam 2019: Remembering stars we lost this year (via Photo Services):

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