Doug Crane, whose animation skills graced cartoons ranging from Hanna-Barbera family fare to MTV’s Beavis & Butt-head, died on Dec. 17 of cancer. He was 85. The death was confirmed by his daughter, Rose-Ellen, in a Facebook post.
Crane was an animator for Terrytoons, Hanna-Barbera, MTV, Filmation, Oriolo Films, Zander Animation Parlour, as well as a former Professor of Animation at SVA.
Born in Bronxville, New York, he attended Eastchester High School and graduated from the Cartoonist and Illustrators School (now called The School of Visual Arts in New York City).
Crane began working for Terrytoons in 1956. His first day at Terrytoons would change his life. Not only did he begin a career that would span 65 years, but he met his wife, Maureen Hurley whom he would marry and go on to start their family of 8 children.
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Crane took a break from the New York animation industry briefly when he went into the Army in 1958. While serving in the Army, he illustrated recruitment pamphlets, created and painted floats for the base parades, painted signage for the White Sands Proving Grounds, and created a comic strip called Tiptoe and Timber that ran in military newspapers.
He returned to working at Terrytoons after the Army. Crane’s animation career saw him working with such industry greats such as Burne Hogarth, Preston Blair, Art Babbitt, Jimmy (Shamus) Culhane, Bill Hanna, Joe Oriolo, Bill Tytla, John Hubley, Grim Natwick, Jack Zander, Al Capp, Bob Blechman, Gene Deitch, Ernie Pintoff, Richard Williams and others.
At the request of Bill Hanna, Crane and Red Auguston opened and operated the Hanna-Barbera East studios in New York City. Crane went on in his career to animate films, television series, commercials, theatrical releases, and half hour specials; draw comic strips, comic books and digests.
He received a Clio Award, the National Television Commercials Award, for his animation of The Wall Street Journal commercial. His storyboard work, character creation & design, background design and finished layouts are a few more talents he possessed, but some of his favorite work was when he animated the bobbing, rolling, and twisting ship scene in the Raggedy Ann & Andy movie.
Crane also designed and taught a comprehensive course in Cartooning and Animation techniques at his alma mater, Eastchester High School, and was a Professor of Classical Animation at his other alma mater, The School of Visual Arts in New York City, for 15 years.
Crane was also invited to teach at the Institute of Animation and Film at the Academy of Art and Design, Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Crane also spent time as the Artist In Residence at the Thornton-Donovan school in New Rochelle. He also served the Westchester County residents as an Auxiliary Police officer, a Grand Knight at the New Rochelle Knights of Columbus, and as the Municipal Arts Commissioner where he planned and carried out the weekend-long 40th Anniversary celebration for Terrytoons in February 1982.
Survivors include his children Maureen, Erin (her husband Mark & their daughters Megan, Katie & Kerry & their families), Thomas (his wife Debbie & their children Sean & Brianna & their families), Colleen (her husband Art & their children AJ, Aidan, Tiernan & Riley), Caitlin (her husband Shawn), Kevin (his wife Erin & their children Abigail & Nathaniel) and Rose-Ellen (her husband Andrew & their daughters Sam, Shannon, Jordan & Hayley).
He was predeceased by two days by his wife of 61 years, Maureen, and by his son Douglas Jr., in 2018. A private service is being held in Stuart, FL for immediate family members, with another being planned in New Rochelle, NY for this spring/summer.
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