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Thursday, December 15, 2005

BECK, Jerry

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February 9, 1955


Animation historian, Animation consultant, Consulting producer, Executive producer, Animator

Bio Summary

Born on February 9, 1955, Jerry Beck has become one of the most knowledgeable and well-rounded animation historians ever known. His dreams of becoming a cartoonist rooted from his early childhood with cartoons such as Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound. Despite the fact that animators were not in demand by the time he graduated from high school, he still found a career in the field that he loved as an animation scholar. Working as an associate alongside Leonard Maltin, an experienced animation researcher, they published Maltin’s book, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons in 1980. From then on, Beck would take part in various cartoon research projects, both solo and with partners such as Will Friedwald. Many of his findings on the subject are in the form of books such as The 50 Greatest Cartoons and Warner Bros. Animation Art, but he has also created television specials and has even taught several college courses on the history of cartoons, as well. In addition to being an animation historian, he is also an animation producer, and has been, and is working on creating cartoons.

Early Life/Family

Jerry Beck married Marea Boylan on June 15, 2003.


The School of Visual Arts in New York City, NY

Career Outline

1977: Worked with Leonard Maltin on Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons
1978: Worked as salesman with the MGM/UA film library at United Artists
1981: Worked with Will Friedwald to write a filmography called The Warner Bros. Cartoons
1989: Worked again with Will Friedwald to publish Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons
1989: Teamed with Carl Macek to create the Japanese animation importing company, Streamline Pictures
1991: Published I Tawt I Taw A Putty Tat: 50 Years of Sylvester and Tweety
1992: Lectured "Animation: The State of the Art" course at the University of California, Los Angeles
1994: Conducted "The History of the Hollywood Cartoon" seminars at the American Film Institute
1994: Published The 50 Greatest Cartoons
1994: Executive Producer for The Baby Huey Show
1995: Lectured "The History of Animation" course at New York University
1996: Lectured a "Promotion for Animation" course at the School of Visual Arts in NYC
1997: Co-authored Warner Bros. Animation Art with Will Friedwald
1997: Created Cartoon Research Co.
1999: Produced the 65-episode series, Totally Tooned In for Columbia Tri-Star International Television
1999: Co-created, co-produced, and co-wrote thirteen Karen & Kirby interstitials
1999: Edited Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide and Family Film Guide
2002: Worked as writer/producer for cartoon company Rubberbug Animation
2003: Published Outlaw Animation
2003: Published Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide
2004: General Editor for the book Animation Art
2005: Published The Animated Movie Guide
2005: Published Pink Panther: The Ultimate Visual Guide

Comments On Style

In his cartoons, Jerry Beck keeps his character designs clean and simple while at the same time giving them a diverse emotion palate to use in whatever situation they may be in. Beck’s writing style is short and sweet; it does not drone with superfluous details. Rather, it gets to the point with a flavorful amount of text.


Beck’s largest influences for his career come from his best friend and fellow animation researcher, Leonard Maltin and just about any Warner Bros. cartoon.


Very bold and straightforward



Beck has worked on many different animation-related projects, including organizing animation festivals and helping to produce several animation magazines and websites. He also participates in several animation boards, such as the Cartoon Network advisory board and the ASIFA-Hollywood director’s board.

One of his key factors of being successful in the field is that he keeps an open mind to all cartoons, no matter how poorly constructed they are to him. He analyzes everything about cartoons, from backgrounds to character movements. Then he sees why the cartoon was good or bad, and ponders on what could be done to make that cartoon better.

Beck also has his own cartoon weblog, called Cartoon Brew (can be found in Related Links).


Totally Tooned In (1999)
Karen & Kirby (1999)
Algebra’s Cool (2002)


Annie Award: Certificate of Merit 2000

Related Links

Jerry Beck’s Homepage
Jerry Beck’s Weblog
Interview with Jerry Beck
Interview with Jerry Beck 2
Interview with Jerry Beck 3

Bibliographic References

Contributors To This Listing

Laura Edwards

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