Animator Alex Anderson (b.1920) died on October 22. Anderson created the design for the characters of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Bullwinkle J. Moose, Dudley Do-Right, and Crusader Rabbit while working for Jay Ward Productions. Because Anderson did not want to move from San Francisco to Los Angeles, he did not work directly on Rocky and His Friends or subsequent shows and only had a consulting credit. Anderson sued Jay Ward Productions for credit in the creation of the characters.
Actress Billy Mae Richards (b.1921) died on September 10 following a series of strokes. Richards appeared in the 1988 TV series War of the Worlds and the films Gammera the Invincible and Shadow Builder. Her best known role, however, was providing the title character’s voice for the Bass-Rankin production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and subsequent films.
Zephyrhills police have filed murder charges against James William Davis for killing former Thundercats writer Steve Perry. Perry had disappeared in mid-May, and his dismembered body was found later in the month. Davis and his wife Roxanne, who had been Perry’s roommates, were arrested on drug charges and named persons of interest in Perry’s disappearance and, later, murder. Roxanne has not been charged with Perry’s murder, but police have not yet ruled out her involvement.
Actress Ilene Woods (b. Jacquelyn Ruth Woods in 1929) died on July 1. Woods only made two films and is best known for her second role, providing the voice of Cinderella in the 1950 Disney film of the same title. She performed on radio and recorded a demo of several of the film’s songs for Jerry Livingston and Mack David to pitch to Disney and Disney cast her in the role.
A display of the models of Ray Harryhausen will be hosted through August 22 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, CA. The display has been mounted with the cooperation of Harryhausen and has resulted in a showing of models, storyboards, notes, drawings, and photographes. Admission is free to “The Fantastical Worlds of Ray Harryhausen.”
Producer Peter Keefe (b.1953) died on May 27. Keefe was a producer and writer of Denver, the Last Dinosaur, Twinkle, the Dream Being, and Widget, the World Watcher. He also produced Voltron: Defender of the Universe and Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs. In addition to writing for his own productions, Keefe wrote an episode of the series Tales from the Darkside.
Voice actress Pat Stevens died on May 26 following a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Steven voiced the role of Velma Dinkley on various incarnations of Scooby Doo from 1976-1979, during which time, she also appeared on M*A*S*H as Nurse Baker.
Thundercats writer Steve Perry (b.1954) who disappearance was reported earlier, has been declared a murder victim by the Zephyrhills police. Perry disappeared from his home around May 16 and shortly afterward, two of his roommates were arrested on unrelated charges. Police were not ready, at the time, to declare Perry a murder victim, despite finding a severed arm in his abandoned van and other body parts nearby. They have not indicated why they now consider him a murder victim. In addition to Thundercats, Perry also worked on the comic books Timespirits and Silverhawks.
Perry should not to be confused with others of the same name, including a science fiction author.
Carl Macek (b.1950) died on April 17 after suffering an heart attack. Macek began his career doing grassroots promotional work for films such as Star Wars and Alien. In the early 1980s, he worked with Harmony Gold to create the Robotech series. Throughout his career, he helped support the dubbing and creation of anime, helping to bring it to a wider US audience.