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Thursday, December 15, 2005


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Birth: December 15, 1931, New York, New York
Death: January 12, 2002, in Woodland Hills, California


Pintoff took many different titles during various times in his life, and those included screen writer, director, producer, composer, film director, animator, and author

Bio Summary

The son of Joseph and Sylvia Pintoff; separated. His children are Jonathan and Gabriel.

Early Life/Family


He earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts at Syracuse University in 1953 and a master's degree from Michigan State University in 1955

Career Outline

Ernest Pintoff had no experience in the cartoon world when UPA Animation Studios signed him in 1956, and he became part of a new talent group for UPA’s first weekly TV endeavor, The Gerald McBoing-Boing show. Pintoff got an exceptional contract that allowed him to work as a writer, director and designer of three-minute filler cartoons such as Fight on for Old and The Lion Hunt. He also directed one memorable cartoon for Terrytoons: Flebus in 1957. Ernest Pintoff went on making humorous animated shorts, including The Violinist (1958), which was nominated for an Oscar, and The Critic in 1963, which was his most famous work. He also directed unconventional films such as Dynamite Chicken, a collection of skits featuring a mix of famous people such as John Lennon, Joan Baez, Richard Pryor, and Andy Warhol. He later on mainly devoted to directing television programs, working on such popular series as The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, and Hawaii Five-0.

Ernest Pintoff went to teach painting and design at Michigan State University in his later years. He also wrote several books including The Complete Guide to Animation and Computer Graphics Schools in 1995, Animation 101 in 1998, and Directing 101 in 1998, and the 1990 novel Zachary.

Comments On Style

Gene Deitch, the new head of animation at Terrytoons at the time, was attracted by Ernest Pintoff’s satirical and modernistic style.
Pintoff, even when directing films, had the style of cartoony sense of humor.





He studied fine arts at Syracuse University and Michigan State University, but started his career as a jazz trumpeter.


1956 Gerald McBoing Boing Presents, Vol. 1: Favorite Sing-A-Long Songs Director
1956 Gerald McBoing Boing Presents, Vol. 2: Dusty of the Circus Director
1956 Gerald McBoing Boing Presents, Vol. 3: Favorite Animals Director
1956 Gerald McBoing Boing Presents, Vol. 4: The Silly Twirliger Twins and Their Funny Friends
1959 The Violinist Director / Producer
1963 Critic Director / Producer
1965 Harvey Middleman, Fireman Director / Composer (Music Score) / Screenwriter
1967 Questi Fantasmi Dialogue Writer / Screenwriter
1970 Dynamite Chicken Director / Producer
1971 Who Killed Mary What's 'er Name? Director
1972 Blade Director / Executive Producer / Screenwriter
1978 Human Feelings Director
1979 Jaguar Lives! Director
1981 Lunch Wagon Director
1981 St. Helens Director

1956 Gerald McBoing Boing Presents, Vol. 5: Favorite Painters Director
1956 Gerald McBoing Boing Presents, Vol. 6: Favorite Stories and Tales Director


Winner of over fifteen film awards, including two British Academy Awards, Venice Film Festival Prize, and San Francisco Film Festival First Prize.
Nominated for Academy Award Oscar 1959 Best Animated Short: “The Violinist”
Academy Award Oscar 1963: Winner of Best Animated Short for "The Critic".
Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1998

Related Links

Bibliographic References

Gale, Thomson. “Contemporary Authors”

Erickson, Hal. “The New York Times”

“The LA Times” archive section


Contributors To This Listing

Professor Larry Johnson
Hal Erickson
Thomson Gale
Zelda C. Wang

To make additions or corrections to this listing, please click on COMMENTS below...

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