Deadline is reporting today that David H DePatie, the man who co-created the slyest cartoon ever, The Pink Panther, passed away on September 23 of natural causes in Gig Harbor, Washington. DePatie was 91 years of age at the time of his passing.
David H DePatie’s Life & Career
Born into the film business December 24, 1929, in Los Angeles, California, DePatie’s father, Edmond L. DePatie, was head of the counter department at Warner Brothers Studios and would later become executive vice president and general manager of the studio; the studio which he would spend his entire executive career with. According to Depatie himself, this made him into a bit of a Warner brat.
In 1961 he took over as production executive at Pacific Title and Art and in 1963 he directed an animated pilot named Philbert, with Friz Freleng. The pilot never got picked up and was the last project that Pacific Title and Art would produce. After that DePatie and Freleng ended up working on the opening credits to the 1963 crime-comedy directed by Blake Edwards and starring the incomparable, Peter Sellers, The Pink Panther; where DePatie and Freleng would have an animated pink panther appear in the opening credits as a villain. The pink cat took off shortly after that and the duo would eventually win an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for 1964’s The Pink Phink, which you can watch below:
Throughout the rest of his career, David H DePatie would have a hand in numerous projects from working on more animated openings for things like The Ant and the Aardvark, I Dream of Jeannie, and What’s New Mr. Magoo to even producing episodes for shows like The Bugs Bunny Show and The Adventures of the Road Runner; along with other animated projects. He was also a Marvel executive advisor after he and Freleng sold their company to Marvel Comics in 1981 and served until 1984.