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Bugs Bunny animator Bob Givens dies at 99

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 12/23/2017 Nick Romano
a close up of a logo © Warner Bros. Animation

Bob Givens, one of the animators behind Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, died on Dec. 14 at his home in Burbank, California. He was 99.

Givens’ daughter, Mariana Givens, confirmed to the Associated Press that he passed away from acute respiratory failure.

One of the last surviving figures from the golden age of animation, Givens put his illustrator stamp on characters like Tom and Jerry, Daffy Duck, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Popeye. He was hired by the Walt Disney Company out of high school, and his first big break was working on the team for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

He eventually came over to a company that would become the Warner Bros. animation division. Along with Tex Avery, Givens would continue to evolve the design of Bugs Bunny before the character’s debut in the 1940 animated short “A Wild Hare.”

“They had the Bugs Bunny before we got it, but it wasn’t Bugs Bunny,” Givens said, describing the look as more of “Daffy Duck in a rabbit suit.” He ended up designing a model that would inform other animators after Avery said the previous design was “too cute,” according to The Los Angeles Times.

Spanning six decades, Givens’ career would also encompass TV ads, including commercials for Raid.

“My Heartfelt thank you and appreciation for all of Dad’s animation Family, Hayward High School friends and my church family in Santa Barbara, for your love and support of the loss of my father,” Mariana wrote in a post on Facebook. “Thank you Evergreen Retirement for your care and teamwork thru All! I love All of you.”

In memoriam 2017: Remembering stars we lost this year (via Photo Services):

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