Bugs Bunny animator Bob Givens has passed away.
Givens, who drew the first official design for the Looney Tunes icon, died at the age of 99 after an undisclosed illness. His daughter Mariana Givens informed family and friends of his health on Facebook, saying his condition had "changed" and that he was "resting peacefully on Pallative care at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank" on December 13. She then posted on December 14 that he had passed away (via IBTimes).
Givens previously worked for Disney, specifically the Walt Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, before moving over to Warner Bros. He would work alongside animators Chuck Jones and Tex Avery, which would lead to Avery asking him to look over a design of a new character, a rabbit who's look was "too cute" in previous attempts.
Givens then created what became the official design for Bugs Bunny in 1940, appearing first in the animated film A Wild Hare. That same film also included the iconic phrase "What's up, Doc? which ha since become synonymous with the character.
Givens would leave the company after being drafted in World War II, but would then return in the 1950s. He would also go on to work on Tom And Jerry, as well as a stint at Hanna-Barbera. Later he would join the reformed Warner Bros. Animation studio on projects like The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales, and more.
Outside of Looney Tunes Givens would also work on layouts for Garfield and Friends (Season 1 - Season 4) and Bobby's World (Season 1 - Season 5).
Colleague Tom Sito met Givens during their work on He-Man and posted some thoughts on his friend's passing.
"I met Bob doing layout on HeMan at Filmation," Sito said. "We 'd go to lunch with him and Pete Alvarado. He was so funny, and his memory was so sharp. " I recall Leon Schlesinger's most oft quoted phrase- I'm going to Palm Springs for the rest of the week, and F*ck you all!" He gave me so much information for Drawing the Line among other projects."
"Beethoven once said just like a good days work earns a good nights sleep, so a good life well lived earns a good death," Sito said. "Happy Landings Bob, say hi to all the gang in Animation Valhalla. You were one of the greats."