Richard Williams at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Photo: Getty Images/Robin Marchant

Richard Williams, the legendary animator and three-time Oscar-winner behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, two Pink Panther films, and other animated classics, has died.

According to his family, he died in Bristol, at home, yesterday; he was 86 years old. Williams, born in Toronto, was a brilliant animator who began his career in the 1950s, earning his first Oscar, for an animated adaptation of A Christmas Carol, in 1971. He went on to win another two with Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which employed animation techniques and varying styles to blend its live-action and cartoon worlds in a mesmerizing way that still stands out as virtuosic.

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He’s also known for The Thief and the Cobbler, a famous unfinished hand-animated adaptation of Arabian Nights, and The Animator’s Survival Kit, a book written by Williams which is considered a must-have resource in the animation industry. Through incredible work and lifelong pedagogy, Williams influenced entire generations of animators.


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