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Award-Winning 'Tom And Jerry' And 'Popeye' Animator Gene Deitch Dies At 95

Legendary American animator and filmmaker Gene Deitch has died at the age of 95.

His Czech publisher, Petr Himmel, confirmed the news to The Associated Press and said Deitch died unexpectedly at his home in Prague on the night of April 16. As of writing, no further details or cause of death have been released.

Born in 1924, Deitch moved to Prague in 1959 where he fell in love and married his first wife and fellow animator Zdenka Najmanova.

Facebook | Gene Deitch

While working from behind the Iron Curtain, he created more than 70 animated films and several television shows.

In his memoir, "For the Love of Prague", Deitch wrote about his life in the Czech Republic capital city where he described himself as "the only free American living and working in Prague during 30 years of the Communist Party dictatorship."

Deitch is most famously known for his work on both the "Popeye" and "Tom and Jerry" cartoons.

Between 1960 and 1963, he directed 13 Tom and Jerry shorts for MGM, as well as some episodes of the Popeye cartoons.

In 1960 his movie Munro won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and he was nominated for the same award twice more for his movies Here's Nudnik and How to Avoid Friendship, both in 1964.

In addition to his Academy Award, Deitch was honored with the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation in 2004.

Facebook | Gene Deitch

Just days prior to his death, one of Dietch's last Facebook posts addressed the ongoing outbreak and read, "If there was ever a time to realize that we are all one race, the time is now."

He is survived by his wife, Zdenka, and his three sons from his first marriage.

h/t: The Associated Press, Photo: Cartoon Brew