Sad news to report. Mel Crawford, a fine artist best known as one of the greatest illustrators of comic strips and children's books relating to classic animation of the 1950s and 60s, has passed.
Crawford, who lived in Connecticut, was born in Canada and served in the Canadian Navy as fighter pilot in World War II. After a stint in animation at Disney Studios in the 1950s, Crawford found his talents better served as an illustrator for Disney, doing record albums, posters and Western Publishing's Little Golden Books. His association with Western led to drawing and painting hundreds of books and comics - representing almost every animation studio and pop culture icon of the 20th Century.
Among his many art jobs, Crawford painted Howdy Doody, Rootie Kazootie, Yogi Bear, Twinkles The Elephant, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Tom & Jerry, and Gerald McBoing Boing. He was the cover artist for The Golden Magazine and did much work for Jim Henson and Sesame Street.
An strong influence to the current generation of animation artists working today, Crawford's beloved work will be long remembered and cherished. His family reported that he passed away on Monday February 23rd. He was 89 years old.
(Thanks to Darrell Van Citters for contributing to this post)