Chuck Jones (1912-2002)
Chuck Jones is an American motion-picture animator, writer, director, and producer, known for his work on many classic animated films. Charles Martin Jones was born in Spokane, Washington. He moved to California when he was a child and at the age of 15 enrolled in the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. After graduation, he worked at several animation studios and then, around 1933, went to work for Leon Schlesinger, whose studio produced animated films for Warner Bros. (and was purchased by Warner Bros. in 1944). At the studio he worked with animation directors Bob Clampett and Tex Avery, helping to shape the characters of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck. Promoted to director in 1938, Jones directed his first animated short film, The Night Watchman, that same year. His best-known contributions to Warner Bros. are the series of short films featuring the Road Runner and Coyote (created in 1949) and Pepé Le Pew (created in 1945).
After the Warner Bros. animation unit closed its doors in the early 1960s (it later reopened), Jones worked for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) on the “Tom and Jerry” series and other films, including a made-for-television special based on a Dr. Seuss tale, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” which was first broadcast in 1966. He continued to work on special productions for Warner Bros. from time to time and to produce animation through his own company, Chuck Jones Enterprises.
Jones earned a reputation in Hollywood as a political liberal and an intellectual. In the early 1940s he helped organize a strike at the Walt Disney studio, and in the mid-1940s he began writing analytical articles on the subject of animation. Jones also volunteered his services as director of Hell Bent for Election (1944), a short film created at the United Productions of America (UPA) studio that supported the re-election of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Three of Jones’s animated shorts received Academy Awards: For Scent-imental Reasons (1949), So Much for So Little (1949), and The Dot and the Line (1965). In 1992 his Bugs Bunny short What’s Opera, Doc? (1957) was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, an honor accorded to only a small group of American motion pictures. In 1996 Jones received honorary life membership in the Directors Guild of America and an honorary Oscar for “the creation of classic cartoons and cartoon characters whose animated lives have brought joy to our real ones for more than half a century.”