Beatles Animator Ron Campbell Passes Away At 81
via Beatles Cartoon Art Show/YouTube
Ron Campbell, animator of “Yellow Submarine” and “The Beatles” series, has died at the age of 81 in Phoenix, Arizona last January 22. His longtime business partner Scott Segelbaum wrote on Campbell’s Facebook page: “It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I have received news that famed animator/producer/director/storyboard artist Ron Campbell has passed away at age 81. Ron was a dear friend and my business partner for over a decade. His death leaves a huge void.
He added, “Campbell was one of the final people who literally animated our childhoods. Making cartoon films was something Ron had dreamed of since he was six years old when he learned that the short films of Tom & Jerry that he saw in the theaters were only drawings. He was amazed that he could make drawings that could come to life…and that was it. He said he never woke up a day in his life and thought…damn I have to go to work.”
The Australian-born artist had a lengthy career in animation. He trained at the Swinburne Art Institute in Melbourne and in 1958, he was animating commercials on Australian TV. Producer Al Brodax then brought him aboard for the Krazy Kat and Beetle Bailey cartoons. And in 1965, he once again teamed up with Brodax for the animated series The Beatles. It debuted on September 25, 1965 and had a four-year run.
In 1968, Brodax reached out to Campbell once more for The Fab Four’s animated motion picture, Yellow Submarine. Campbell then moved to California to work for Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward Productions, and even Disney.
Segelbaum continued, “As he started touring the United States, visiting art galleries and meeting the audience that grew up with his cartoons, [Campbell] realized something that never occurred to him at the time…the incredible impact that cartoons had on the audience. Saturday morning cartoons were some of their happiest childhood memories. This created a special bond between Ron and the people who came out to meet him, see his artwork and even purchase a family heirloom.”