Rugrats” director, producer Jim Duffy dead at 75

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Jim Duffy

Jim Duffy

Mul­ti­ple Emmy-winning ani­ma­tor, direc­tor and pro­ducer James “Jim” Duffy, a 20-year Klasky Csupo vet­eran, died Fri­day after a long bat­tle with can­cer. He was 75.

He died peace­fully at home in his sleep sur­rounded by his family.

Duffy super­vised many Klasky Csupo shows, par­tic­u­larly Rugrats, direct­ing more episodes of that series than any other artist. Dur­ing his career, he was involved in over 400 half-hours of ani­mated TV series, com­mer­cials and National Coal Board Safety Films as a direc­tor, ani­ma­tor, pro­ducer, writer, tracer/painter, sto­ry­board artist and/or designer.

Jim Duffy will be greatly missed,” said ani­ma­tion pro­ducer Mary Har­ring­ton, a col­league on Rugrats and Aaahh! Real Mon­sters. “I was so lucky to have had the oppor­tu­nity to work closely with this tal­ented direc­tor for sev­eral years. I learned so much work­ing with him as did many of the great­est artists in our indus­try who also had the oppor­tu­nity to work with Jim. He was a kind and quiet leader who leaves an extra­or­di­nary legacy of great films that we his friends and fans may enjoy forever.”

Said Jerry Hib­bert, another for­mer co-worker: “You didn’t really work with Jim. You could work at the next desk to Jim, as I did for sev­eral years. Jim liked to work solo. He wrote his own scripts, did his own keys, his own in-betweens, his own trace and paint. But he also liked peo­ple around him. He was the gen­tlest, kind­est, most gen­er­ous man you could imag­ine, and com­pletely absorbed in his fam­ily, his friends — and animation.”

Jim Duffy was an unusual tal­ent, as he never told any­one how good he was,” said ani­ma­tion direc­tor Jimmy Murakami of When the Wind Blows and The Snow­man fame.

Besides Murakami, Duffy worked with such major ani­ma­tors as Steve Bosus­tow, Fred Crip­pen, George Dun­ning, Charles Eames, John Halas, Stan Lee, Bill Melen­dez, Bill Sewell, Charles Swen­son and Fred Wolf.

In 1994 and 2003, Duffy shared Day­time Emmy wins for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Children’s Pro­gram for Rugrats. The series earned him a shared Day­time Emmy for Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment in Ani­ma­tion in 1995.

He was nom­i­nated for a Day­time Emmy for Out­stand­ing Children’s Pro­gram for Rugrats in 2000, 2001 and 2002. In 2004, he shared a Day­time Emmy nom­i­na­tion for Out­stand­ing Children’s Ani­mated Pro­gram for the series.

Duffy was nom­i­nated for a Day­time Emmy for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Pro­gram for Rugrats in 1993. And in 1995, he was nom­i­nated for an Emmy for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Pro­gram (For Pro­gram­ming One Hour or Less) for the TV spe­cial A Rugrats Passover.

In 2002 and 2003, As Told by Gin­ger brought him Emmy nom­i­na­tions for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Pro­gram (For Pro­gram­ming Less Than One Hour). He was nom­i­nated in 1991 for a Day­time Emmy for Out­stand­ing Ani­mated Pro­gram for Cap­tain Planet and the Plan­e­teers, and in 1995 for a Day­time Emmy for Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment in Ani­ma­tion for Aaahh!!! Real Mon­sters.

He was cre­ative pro­ducer and direc­tor of Aaahh!!! Real Mon­sters, Rocket PowerAs Told by Gin­ger and All Grown Up. Before that, he worked at Murakami-Wolf, Hanna-Barbera and Mar­vel on var­i­ous shows, includ­ing Cap­tain Planet, Smurfs, G.I. Joe and Jem.

Duffy pro­duced the mini-series G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra (1984), the 1987 series Vision­ar­ies: Knights of the Mag­i­cal Light and the TV-movie Solar­man (1986). Senior exec­u­tive pro­ducer of the 2001 TV doc­u­men­tary Rugrats: Still Babies After All These Years, he was cre­ative pro­ducer of the video shorts The Wacky Adven­tures of Ronald McDon­ald: Scared Silly (1998) and The Wacky Adven­tures of Ronald McDon­ald: The Leg­end of Gri­mace Island (1999).

Direc­tor of the 2006 TV series The Adven­tures of Chico and Guapo and the 1975 doc­u­men­tary short Safety Senses, he was assis­tant direc­tor of the 1975 TV-movie The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

Duffy was an ani­ma­tion super­vi­sor for the TV series The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Super Friends and Lav­erne & Shirley in the Army (all 1981). He was an ani­ma­tion direc­tor of the 2008 car­toon movie Immi­grants (L.A. Dolce Vita).

He ani­mated the 1983 TV series The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and The Char­lie Brown and Snoopy Show, as well as that year’s TV-movies My Smurfy Valen­tine, Peter and the Magic Egg and The Great Bear Scare. Duffy ani­mated the TV shorts Puff and the Incred­i­ble Mr. Nobody (1982) and What Have We Learned, Char­lie Brown? (1983), in addi­tion to the 1977 movie The Mouse and His Child, the 1976 the­atri­cal short Sooper Goop, and the “Hot­book” ani­ma­tion sequence in the 1990 movie Book of Love.

A sheet timer for the 1995 TV series Dino Babies, Duffy also was an ani­ma­tion timer for Duck­man: Pri­vate Dick/Family Man (1994–96). Duffy was a sto­ry­board artist for the 1990 series Cap­tain N & the Adven­tures of Super Mario Bros. 3.

His own per­sonal short projects were screened at fes­ti­vals in Bil­bao, Lucca, Nancy, Nyon, Ober­hausen, Tours and Zagreb.

Although born in the United States, Duffy divided his career between Lon­don and Los Angeles.

Jim Duffy’s mar­riage to the for­mer Cella Nichols ended in divorce. He is sur­vived by three chil­dren, who all hold posi­tions at Klasky-Csupo: Vera, a free­lance writer; James, a props designer; and Bar­bara Duffy, who is in production.

Ser­vices are set for 2:30 p.m. Sat­ur­day, March 31 at the Old North Church at For­est Lawn Hol­ly­wood Hills.

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