When it comes to people in the animation industry, easily one of the most revered names is Richard Williams. Many recognized him for being one of the most talented and influential animators of all time and part of many iconic projects. On August 17th 2019, it was announced by his family that Richard Williams has tragically passed away in his home in Bristol.
The first project Williams worked on was the 1958 short film The Little Island as director, writer, producer and animator. The 33 minute short was self financed by himself and won the BAFTA award for Best Animated film in 1958. Due to his successful work on The Little Island, Williams went on to working on numerous films including working on the title sequences for films such as The Pink Panther, and a few films in the James Bond series. Williams also directed an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for Television back in 1971, which won an Oscar for Best Animated Short film. His first feature directorial debut was a film featuring the popular doll, Raggedy Ann, in Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure, a film mostly known for its surreal visual style that is often associated with Williams’ work.
Though, probably his most recognized work was being the animation director for the classic Robert Zemeckis film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Williams received a ton of acclaimed for Roger Rabbit as his animation helped made the outlandish world of cartoons and humans living together incredibly believable. The work was so great, Williams won two Academy Awards for the visual effects in that film. His other most famous project to animation fans is the cult phenomenon that is The Thief and the Cobbler. The film was Williams most ambitious project, not only recognized for it’s unique animation, but also has one of the longest running productions of any film when production started all the way back in 1964. The film’s production is arguably more recognized than the film itself as it was attached to different studios throughout the years and was released as an entirely different film in 1995 as Arabian Nights. Richard Williams even worked on a director’s cut of the film known as The Re-Cobbled Cut which was worked on as recently as 2013, and despite still not being fully completed, was an attempt to create the true version of the film. Williams is also known for his work on The Animator’s Survival Kit, a book that is referred by many animators as one of the ultimate guides to getting into the field of animation.
Williams’ hard work and incredible talent in the animation industry will always be recognized. His work was creative, ambitious and took full advantage of the medium of animation. He lived a long and fulfilling life, animating and writing up until his untimely death. He might be gone now but his work, especially for anyone in the field of animation, will never be forgotten.