Fred Ladd, American Anime Legend, Dies at 94

For decades, anime has been a part of not just Japanese culture, but also the culture of North America as more series make their way to televisions and streaming services alike, with one of the key figures in bringing over the medium the West being Fredd Ladd, aka Fred Laderman, who passed away at the age of 94 earlier this month. Responsible for many different projects in the world of anime, and entertainment in general, Ladd had a major influence on introducing a number of big projects from Japan to the West that might have never seen them otherwise.

In 1963, Ladd edited and dubbed Tetsuawn Atom, which would become Astro Boy in North America, introducing brand new audiences to the world of the synthetic young powerhouse. Following this, Ladd also produced the likes of Gigantor and Kimba the White Lion in the '60s, bringing a number of new series to the West that helped lay the groundwork for anime to take hold with a number of new fans. Following these projects, Ladd also had a hand in creating the original English Dub for Sailor Moon, working with DiC Entertainment, and solidifying the Shojo franchise to a ton of new television viewers.

Astro Boy Death
(Photo: Tezuka)

The Co-Founder and CEO of The Right Stuf International, Shawne Klechner, had this to say regarding Fred Ladd's passing:

"Fred Ladd was a true pioneer. His early work with Dr. Tezuka brought anime to North America, as well as popularized a budding industry in Japan. I think you could safely say, without his efforts, we wouldn't have anime as we do today. It was an honor to work with him to restore and release these classic works over the years, and I know that it brought him great happiness to see them continue to be enjoyed by new generations of fans."

Ladd also worked on projects outside of the world of anime, writing animated series created in North America including the likes of The Incredible Hulk, Ghostbusters, and MASK. Needless to say, Ladd's influence on the world of anime being adopted in the West cannot be overstated, and the medium would surely have followed a different path if not for Fred's work on the likes of Astro Boy, Gigantor, Kimba the White Lion, and Sailor Moon to name a few.

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Our thoughts are with Ladd's family during this difficult time.

Via Anime News Network