The Golden Age

The in­au­gur­al Golden Awards was held in 1984 at Sorrentino’s Restaurant in Toluca Lake to hon­or vet­er­ans of the in­dus­try and ac­knowl­edge their vast con­tri­bu­tions to the craft. The award was cre­at­ed not to cham­pi­on a mer­i­toc­ra­cy but in­stead to cel­e­brate per­se­ver­ance—50 years ded­i­cat­ed to the craft. In that first pro­gram it read: “There is no se­lec­tiv­i­ty in this room tonight; the pro­duc­er, the an­i­ma­tor and the cel-wash­er sit to­geth­er amongst us.”

Forty-one members of the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Guild were celebrated that night in January, and since then another 228 artists, writers and technicians have been honored across four decades. We continue the tradition today; another 28 Animation Guild members were honored on November 2nd. We celebrate their devotion to this wonderful and unique craft that has brought joy to generations.

2019 Honorees

Robert Alvarez
Dale Baer
Jane Baer
Sandra Benenati
David Brain
Jan Browning
Dale Case

Vicki Casper
Phil Cummings
Barbara Donatelli
Jerry Eisenberg
William Exter
Karl Fischer
Bob Foster

Milton Gray
Bill Hutten
Sylvia Keulen
Mircea Mantta
Larry Leichliter
Floyd Norman
Philip Phillipson

Bob Richardson
Kitty Schoentag
Eric Semones
Marianne Tucker
Dennis Venizelos
Tim Walker
Carla Washburn

Karl Fischer with his wife

Fischer started at Kim/Gifford Animation in New York learning design, animation, storyboarding, writing, and editing. In the early 1970s, he started his own studio, producing and art directing commercials and trailers, and was a part of the 1971 Academy Award-winning short The Crunch Bird. After moving west, he worked at Disney, Warner Bros., Film Roman and more.

Jerry Eisenberg

At the start of his career, Eisenberg landed at Warner Bros. working with Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones, before heading to Hanna-Barbera for 14 years. He worked as an art director and producer at Ruby-Spears, then head of development at Marvel. Over the years, he has worked as a character designer, director, writer, storyboard artist and more at studios across town.

From left: Larry Smith, Myoung Smith, Barbara Donatelli and Jim Finch

In 1962, Donatelli started her career at CBS Terrytoons in New York in the ink and paint department before moving to Los Angeles and working as an animation checker with DePatie-Freleng. She also worked at Marvel and Bill Melendez before settling at Disney for two decades.

Philip Phillipson and his wife

Phillipson started in the mailroom at Hanna-Barbera in 1968. He quickly got promoted to the editorial department and then worked in layout and background. In 1983, he began a 20-year run at Disney Feature Animation painting on such classics as The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and more.

Bill Hutten

Hutten started his career in the early ‘60s at a small studio in Colorado before ending up at Terrytoons in New York. After a year there, he called Joe Barbera, who fronted him the money to buy a plane ticket to Los Angeles and meet. After a decade at Hanna-Barbera, he opened his own union studio, working as a creator, producer, director, animator and animation director.

Tim Walker and Jane Baer

During his career, Walker worked at numerous studios including Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, and Disney as an animator and animation director before landing at Warner Bros. where the Primetime Emmy-winner spent 27 years.

Baer began her animation career in 1955 as an assistant animator on Sleeping Beauty (1959) alongside the legendary “Nine Old Men”. She continued to work as an animator, storyboard artist, layout artist, writer, director and producer at Disney, Hanna-Barbara, Filmation, and more before starting her own studio in 1984.

Mircea Mantta

Romanian-born Mantta started his career in Bucharest before emigrating to the U.S. in 1977. Two years later, he came to Los Angeles where he worked at Hanna-Barbera, Filmation and Disney Television Animation, Nickelodeon, and more as an animator, timing director, animation director, producer and director.

Milton Gray

Gray’s first job was as an inbetweener on The Jungle Book, continuing his career at different studios as an animator, storyboard artist, layout artist, animation timer, director, and producer including at Ralph Bakshi, Don Bluth, Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Marvel Animation, and more. He won a Primetime Emmy for his work on The Simpsons.

Kitty Schoentag

Schoentag started in animation at the age of 14 helping at her mother’s ink and paint service. Over her career, she has worked at MGM, Hanna-Barbera, Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and more as a supervisor and animation checker.

From left: Bob Foster, David Brain and Jan Browning

Brain kicked off his career in animation in 1966, working in a myriad of positions including as an animator, storyboard artist, and timing director at Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, and more.

Browning grew up in the industry—her mother owned an ink and paint shop. Over her career, she has worked as a painter, inker, final checker and animation checker at Hanna-Barbera, Animedia, and more, spending 21 years at Warner Bros.

Recording Secretary Paula Spence (left) with Robert Alvarez

The six-time Primetime Emmy winner started his career in 1968 as an inbetweener for Fred Calvert Productions. Since then, Alvarez has worked as an animator, layout artist, storyboard artist, X-sheet director at Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, Ruby-Spears, Marvel, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network, where he has spent the last 27 years.

Bob Richardson (center) with his wife and grandson

Richardson’s career has taken him from clearing frosted cels in the early days to setting up Marvel Animation Studios where he produced and directed Spider-Man. Inbetween, he’s worked as an animator, storyboard director, supervising director and producer for DePatie-Freleng, Marvel Productions, Disney TV, and more.

Phil Cummings

A self-proclaimed wandering hippie, Cummings started as a cel painter. His career has spanned different roles, including animator, FX artist, sheet timer, and sequence director in both feature film and television, culminating in a 2005 Annie Award for Best Directing, shared with Shaun Cashman, for Grim & Evil.

Carla Washburn and her husband, Ron Harris

Taught by her mother, Manon Washburn, a master inker, Washburn learned to paint cels as a teenager. She has travelled the world—from London to Minnesota, Dublin to Taipai—in pursuit of her animation career, working as a checker and continuity supervisor for Sullivan Bluth, Universal, Marvel, Warner Bros. and more.

From left: Floyd Norman, Bob Foster and Tim Walker

Norman started his career in 1956 at Walt Disney Studios as an inbetweener on Sleeping Beauty, where he became the first African-American artist to remain at the studio on a long-term basis. He has worked as an animator, layout artist, storyboard artist, writer, and director, and continues to pursue his passion for the craft by consulting for Disney.

Starting out, Foster found work at small, commercial studios; by 1969, he was an assistant animator at Filmation. Over his career, he’s worked as an assistant animator, layout artist, storyboard artist and writer (Disney Publishing) at Hanna-Barbera, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., and more.

Marianne Tucker (center) with her two daughters, Theresa and Jessica

Tucker was still in high school when she started working at Hanna-Barbera doing ink and paint. What started as a summer job turned into a lifelong career in animation as a color stylist, final checker, inbetweener and character designer at Filmation, Disney Feature, Disney TV and more.

From left: Wayne Carlisi, Dale Baer, wife Teddy, Cathlin Hidalgo-Polvani, and Mike Polvani

Baer began in 1970 at Filmation as a layout artist. The Winsor McCay Award winner has worked as an animator, supervising animator, character designer and in visual development at Walt Disney Feature Animation, Bill Melendez Studios, and many more.

Bill Exter

Exter started working in animation as an assistant to Kenny Muse at Hanna-Barbera. The Emmy-winning artist spent his career in Los Angeles working for Filmation, Marvel, Warner Bros., Disney TV, Nickelodeon and more as an as­sis­tant an­i­ma­tor, pro­duc­tion man­ag­er, check­er and con­ti­nu­ity di­rec­tor.