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Artist Virgil Ross

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LOONEY TUNES - THE ART OF VIRGIL ROSS

A legendary animator who worked chiefly at Warner Brothers during the 'Golden Years of Animation.' Having moved through the ranks of the pioneering studios (as a trainee for Charles Mintz, in 1930, for $6 a week salary, and Walter Lantz -- briefly -- in 1935), Ross joined Tex Avery at Leon Schlesinger's 'Termite Terrace.' He remained there until Warner Brothers dissolved their cartoon department in 1964.

After that, he delved into the world of low-budget animation, ending up at Filmation in the 60's and 70's, turning out 'Batman,' 'Superman' and 'Star Trek' cartoons. Ross excelled at facial expression and had a keen eye for gesture and movement in his drawings. He was at his best-designing action and dance sequences, ideally showcased in episodes like Rhapsody Rabbit (1946) (he was reputedly quite agile on the dance floor himself).

He was instrumental in the development and maturation of the character who captained the Looney Tunes ship: Bugs Bunny (his creations included the rabbit's first Oscar-nominated short, A Wild Hare (1940)). During his lengthy tenure as a critical member of Friz Freleng's unit, he also perfected perennial favorites Yosemite Sam (Knighty Knight Bugs (1958)) and Sylvester (Bad Ol' Putty Tat (1949), A Mouse Divided (1953), A Street Cat Named Sylvester (1953). etc.). In 1988, Ross was honored with the highest accolade in animation, the Winsor McKay Achievement Award in animation. -  Clampett Studios