Walter Lantz was the creator of the cartoon, Woody Woodpecker. The cartoon which was produced for over thirty years was the most popular cartoon produced by Lantz. He created several other cartoon characters including Snuffy Skunk and Jock and Jill.
Walter Benjamin Lantz was born in New Rochelle, New York, USA. At the age of 16 in 1915 he began working as a newspaper cartoonist. He also began to study art at the Art Students League of New York where, at the time, Dublin born Cedric Gibbons, the designer of the Oscar statuette was also a student. Lantz later worked for Bray Studios where he directed his first cartoon, ‘Dinky Doodle’.
Having moved to Hollywood in 1927 Lantz established his own studio in 1935. While on honeymoon he and his wife Grace were constantly disturbed by a woodpecker pecking on the roof of their lodge at Lake June, California. His wife suggested that he should create a cartoon character based on a woodpecker. The Woody Woodpecker cartoon made its first appearance in 1941. In later years Woody’s voice was provided by Lantz’s wife Grace.
Lantz continued to produce cartoons until he closed his studio and retired in 1972. In 1979 he was awarded a Special Academy Award. Woody Woodpecker was given a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 1990. Lantz died on March 22nd 1994 at the age of 94.
Walter Lantz was born in the year 1899 On This Day.
Walter Lantz painting