corny11 corny11

Corny Cole (1930-2011)

Beloved animator, graphic artist, book illustrator, painter and teacher Cornelius “Corny” Cole has passed away. His close friend, animator Bob Kurtz, confirmed to us that Corny died this morning. Cole was reportedly 81 and had been suffering with MSA (Multiple System Atrophy).

Cole was born and raised in Southern California and was a fine art major at the Chouinard Art School. He entered the animation industry in 1954 as an in-betweener on Disney’s Lady & The Tramp. He went on to work for UPA in the latter ’50s, then for Warner Bros. Cartoons in the early ’60s. He became a production designer for Chuck Jones on Gay Purr-ee (1962) and The Phantom Tollbooth (1969) and designed Super Six (1966) and Ant & The Aardvark (1969) for DePatie-Freleng.

  • Gregg Detrich

    Thanks for posting.

    • Chris Bergemann

      What a true inspiration Corny has been and we trust will continue to be. He has clearly touched the lives of so many and given so much. For those of us in Australia who have had the all too brief honour to have met him we are truly saddened at his passing. His loss is felt here. Our thoughts are with you. Chris, Margaret, Tristan and Tiffany

  • Craig Patches

    RIP Corny! Thanks for everything you taught us!

    • andrew MUNRO

      no reply, just agreement. thanks for everything you taught us.

    • Tim D

      I just heard the news of Corny passing on. Corny was more then an artist and mentor to me. He was a true friend. While I was at Calarts Corny taught me to be an artist first and foremost.The hours and hours we drew together were hours I cherish to this day. His humor and wit were always present and he was always willing to share with his students. He reveled in our successes and always encouraged us. Thank you Corny for always believing in us….You will be missed.

  • BennyZ

    Very sad news. Corny was an incredible artist and the best kind of teacher- the kind who could inspire you to push yourself harder and find reserves of talent you never knew existed. What a treasure he was to everyone who had the pleasure of studying with him. I was lucky enough to teach with him for a few summers, and occasionally drove him to and from CalArts, and he was always brimming with such warm, funny stories from the golden days.

    Thank you for all you gave, Corny. You are irreplaceable.

  • Steven M.

    Damn, another great animator gone.

  • Corny was as essential part of my experience at CalArts.
    Beyond imparting an uncompromising need to strive for something unique no matter what you are working on, Corny used to tell us “you have to try to be better that the folks who are working right now. Glen Keane, Andreas Deja and all of those guys, you should be striving to be better than they are now.” An inspiration and a real genuinely nice man. Thanks for everything, Corny.

  • Rufus

    NOOOOO! God, this really sucks. :(

    I really loved Corny. He was one of the nicest people I’ve met, ever. His humor, his wit and his creativity were a huge inspiration in my life. He was truly one of a kind.

    I’ll really miss him.

    • Thats what I said last night when my Boss told me of the News. We all were good friends. Here are my exact words,”omg no NO! omg get out of town Boss! NO!”

  • Dave Creek

    Thanks for everything, Corny. Say hi to Mike for me. Love ya, Gramps.

  • andres

    Its real blessing to have known and learned from this giant of a human being. Truly a life to be celebrated.

  • Ken Perkins

    You’re one of a kind, Corny. You’ll be missed :(

  • Sean M

    …a brilliant artist, a loved teacher, a great man. I am blessed to have had been one of his students. He will be missed.

  • Zeke

    So incredibly sorry to hear this news today.

    Corny taught us all to free our minds and wrists of the constraints in art. So many times I had him over my shoulder telling me to loosen up my gestures. I think that mode of thinking represented Corny’s life, his views on art, his views on the world around him. It is rare to find a person so totally engulfed in making beautiful art, and willing sharing his knowledge to further the form. He did this not out for personal reasons, but for the individual needing to expand his or her views and abilities.

    Corny’s virtues have impacted more artists, and unknowingly families and friends of those artists, than Corny would ever come to know. Always to respected, never to be forgotten.

  • CalArts is crying…
    How I will miss you, dear Corny :'(

  • matt Sullivan

    I am gonna miss this man. He’s the reason I made it through Cal Arts and graduated. He was just a constant source of joy and positive energy. Always smiling and laughing. Always joking about himself. Always an inspiration.

    Godspeed old man. You’ll be missed more than you can imagine.

  • RIP Corny, Thank you for everything you taught me. Thanks Cartoon Brew for the update. Dam!!! He will be missed!!! This is a sad day for animation!!!

  • Zoë Moss

    If not for Corny, and Mike for that matter, I would have not understood the value of life drawing, nor would it have been as much of an enlightening experience. Corny brought the funk and was an amazing, wonderful person. He was caring, understanding, the right amount of eccentric, and I am so thankful to have learned from him.

  • eeteed

    horrible news.

    a loss to all animation fans.

  • I am so lucky to have had the honor to know Corny for almost half of my life. He has been an inspiration as an animator, an illustrator, a friend, a goof ball, a teacher , a better human being and an animal lover :) He was a huge part of helping me fulfill my goals and I know I’m not the only one.

    I will miss you Cornster and think of you always at the same time. My best to his Wife and daughters and sons.


  • His Greedy sequence in Raggedy Ann is a marvel of animation. One of the great high points of the form.

    • If you have John Canemaker’s book, THE ANIMATED RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY, take a look at the page showing Corny Cole’s poses for Babette, done with a ballpoint pen.

      They’re already in motion before the animation begins.

  • Corny was an amazing person, the sort who makes you more interested in the world. RIP.

  • Surf’s up! Love you, man.

  • I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with Corny, although the short time I studied under him was one of the most eye opening and rewarding art experiences of my life. He really brought life to life drawing, pushed everyone and made sure you knew when you weren’t pushing yourself. This is a wonderful article and tribute to him (although I do wish his work on the original Heavy metal film was mentioned).

    Cornelius, you are truly loved and will be truly missed.

  • Man, what a punch in the gut. Corny was one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. As an 18 year old kid I learned so much from him…the basics of timing, which end was up on an animation disc, how pans worked. I learned how a seasoned professional can pay reverence to another seasoned professional by watching him interact. I also learned that it’s OK to take the wind out of the sails of a cocky professional through Corny’s playful outlook on the world. I learned that it’s OK to draw with a pencil taped to a stick using your left hand. I learned that sometimes art can be about someone you love by watching how Corny would invest years in ballpoint pen drawings on frosted cells to pay tribute to his late wife. I learned that even if my drawings sucked, Corny still thought I was great and had potential. I learned that a studio can sometimes be nothing more than a place to work: it’s about the people.

    Rest in peace, Corny, you’ve earned it.

  • greg m.

    R.I.P. Corny

  • santosh

    I’ll never forget drawing on the weekends at Cal Arts. Corny would be crouched over his brown paper on the floor with his masterpiece figure drawing done with pastels. After seeing what he had done on the floor, I’d look at my formulaic drawing of the figure and weep.

    Here’s to Corny Cole, whose creativity and draftsmanship knew no bounds!

    • Michael Hughes

      Now weekend drawing at CalArts has been killed by the gutless beauracrats who had to put a stop to all that drawing.

      • Steve Brown

        I would like to see it brought back. I think it would be a fitting tribute to Corny to continue the Sunday life drawing I never did hear a convincing reason for why it was discontinued.

      • The gutless bureaucrats are a dime a dozen and will come and go ultimately into obscurity.

        The Corny Coles of the world are one in a million, the memories of those they’ve touched will last for generations and their great works will live forever.

  • One of my most inspiring teachers at USC, and one of the reasons I decided to apply for USC’s Animation Program in the first place. I visited his life drawing class at USC before applying and was instantly sold on the school. During the session I attended, he drew a storyboard on chalkboard engaging the students in an improvisational work session. Each student was acknowledged, regardless of how wacky the input was, and Corny made the story board work. His imagination was palpable during that class. He pushed for non-conformity and utmost creativity. If he saw you settling in a particular style or medium he would push you in the opposite direction. For example, if you were a skilled drafts person, he will tell you to put down the pencil, pick up the scissors and explore collage with paper cut-outs. His creative wisdom will surely be missed.

  • my most sincere condolences to Corny’s family and his friends. he was most certainly a blessing to me during my days at school, helping me realize the artistic potential for film, the figure, story, and just good ideas in general. his kind heart and snappy remarks made me want to be around him all the time. i will continue to think of you often, Corny. i can’t begin to express how grateful and sad i am.

  • Shannon Blaney-Diforte

    Corny was one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had. It was such a pleasure to be in his classroom. He was passionate, engaging, funny and so enthusiastic about sharing all that he could about art. He was a real gem of an artist and friend. He will be sorely missed.

  • As my mentor and friend, he was a very talented and amazing person. The animation world will miss him dearly. Rest in Peace Corny.

  • Alfons Moliné

    These are sad news. Corny was one of the unsung heroes of animation, and from the other people’s comments I have just read, it certainly looks that, besides being a great cartoonist, he also was a great human being. Sadly, we haven’t many people still among us who are both things. Hopefully his work will be deservedly preserved and publicly spread for the years to come.


    • Bill Eckert

      You are so right JJ, Corny speaks to all of us, teaching along side of a legend was a truly wonderful experience…he gave so much to all of us. He was so full of love and passion, what a hero! Bill

  • Hedy Yudaw

    RIP Corny~ I was so lucky you were my mentor at Cal Arts. I always remember what you tough me not to be afraid of being myself. You have been my father in my heart.

  • Corny, you’ve been a great inspiration to me in my creative journey. You’ve direct and sincere in your vision and guidance. You’ve been a blessing to us all, a father to this great circle of comrades. You are missed and loved. Thank you Corny. RIP.

  • bob kurtz

    thanks jerry. for posting this tribute to corny. his family will appreciated it along with all the gracious and heart felt comments. corny may have been a twin but he was one of a kind.

    • Am I electronically connected to Bob Kurtz here? If so, I am spreading the effect of the shock received when sent news of Corny Cole’s passing.

      Corny inspired, entertained and educated me from my earliest years of making animation. When I was still in diapers working at Spungbuggy Works in Los Angeles, Corny would show up in Harache sandals, Hawaiian shirt, straw hat and carrying a suitcase and an animation disc. The suitcase looked like a cliche drawing of a hastily packed suitcase, closed incompletely, revealing corners of animation paper hanging out the sides. He would sit on a chair, put a light bulb on the floor, the disc on his lap and then draw all day long. Piles of drawings would be dropped on the floor and out of the pile the few designs, layouts, or backgrounds required for the production he was working on would be hauled off to the director, usually Frank Terry.

      Glorious drawings full of lines and full of life. He was modest, funny and twin brother of a big wave surfer. He was my idol. They better make a lot of room wherever Corny went, his was a great big soul.

  • Ethan Hurd

    Corny, The stuff you taught me was invaluable, I use it every day and I try to do my best to pass it along to my students. Big A little c.

  • Carolyn Bates

    That is the saddest news! He was the sweetest, guy and so incredibly talented. Rest in peace, dear Corny!

  • OtherDan

    Sad to hear the news. Corny was one of a kind, and a great person to have known.

  • Shelli Regalado

    Thanks Jerry for posting this so incredibly fast. For those of us who were blessed to have known him, Corny was an incredible artist, fantastic teacher, and the most selfless, sweet person I have ever met. There was a childlike quality in his enthusiasm for life. Besides working on many commercials for Kurtz & Friends, his pencil work on frosted cel for the PBS documentary
    “Roman City” is nothing short of brilliant. Corny and my dad (Bob Kurtz) were close friends for over 50 years. His friendship, zany antics and generosity will be greatly missed. We truly were in the presence of greatness.

  • Roxanne

    I am so so sad to hear the news of Corny’s passing. He was a huge mentor for me. Both he as well as Mike Mitchel really had a major impact on my life as an artist. I always appreciated his wisdom and sense of humor. I’d often hear his mantra, “Art for Art’s sake”. You are a beautiful soul and will be terribly missed.

  • Shelli Regalado

    If you knew Corny, then you knew how blessed you were to have crossed his path. He was a master artist, a fabulous teacher, and the sweetest, kindest human being I have ever met. There was a childlike quality in his enthusiasm for life, which was very rare. Corny was always outstanding in the animation that he did for us at Kurtz & Friends. His pencil animation on frosted cel for the PBS documentary “Roman City” is nothing short of brilliant. Corny and my dad (Bob Kurtz) were friends for over 50 years. His talent, zany antics and generosity will be greatly misssed. We were truly in the presence of greatness. Love you Corny!

  • A great teacher, an amazing talent and a true gentleman. RIP, Corny.

  • Michael Swanigan

    Corny trained me in Jr. High and got me my first job when I started High School. I can never say enough to praise this great artist for all that he has done for me over the years. We worked together on many a project as I was coming up over the years. Years that I will never forget. I wish to express my deepest sympathies to all his friends and family. He well be missed.

  • ryan

    One of the best and insane teachers I ever had.
    I know I am one of many who he made get up and draw with a 4 foot stick on the back wall of the figure drawing room. A lot of teachers were able to point out my bad habits in learning to draw, he was one of the only ones to get me to break those habits and grow. Thanks Corny.

  • Jesse Jordan

    Thanks for posting this, Jerry.

    Thank you Corny for helping me get into CalArts those many years ago. You and Mike were an inspiration. Hope you’re enjoying that big mocha in the sky. Good journey, old friend!

    “Art for art’s sake, dammit!” – Corny Cole in response to design teacher Leo Monahan’s prodding, “Art for money!”

  • Michael Gurau

    RIP Corny– I feel very lucky to have gone to Cal Arts when Corny was around. From this day forward, Cal Arts will never be the same. I am not saying it will suck or anything, Just not the same. I can’t think of that place without thinking of him. Even when you didn’t have class with him, you still had access to him. He was always around and always sharing that knowledge. He always made you strive to be better and WANT to be better. You can probably count on one hand the amount of people working in the Animation field today he hasn’t affected in some way. Think of the generations of people who studied with him. Wow! While Corny always taught you to be better-strive for more- I wish all teachers had that same mentality. Always strive to be better, keep learning and pass on that info to the next generation- but know this, Corny set that bar pretty high. The best. He will be missed, but lives on in everyone’s work that studied under him.

  • ekuska

    Ive worked with a lot of people in the industry and noticed there is much anger and ranting involved.

    Yet whenever Corny’s name gets mentioned, people got animated and happy.

    I cannot think of a better tribute to an artist and human being. He was an inspiration and brought out positivity and vigor. What a sad loss it will be for so many.

    We certainly need more people like him.

  • Nicole Panter

    Oh, so sad. RIP Corny Cole. A wonderful colleague.

  • Mike L

    Corny was a true master. He inspired generations of talent selflessly and was a great mentor to all who sat and drew with him. I wish the best for his family. Corny thanks for being you and giving us those magical drawings!

  • Rhonda Zayas

    Wow. Terribly sad news. Though I was in the design program, this man is the only reason I survived CalArts. Such a blessing to our world. You will be truly missed, but touched SO many lives. Thank you, Corny.

  • Orson Welles

    Didn’t know the guy, but…”Is It Right to be Right” was really awesome. Have heard his name in tons of blogs, podcasts, and animation writing, cool to see a face to the name, rip.

  • Corny was one of a kind! He was true inspiration that helped many young artists find the best in themselves. We will miss you much!

  • Had the pleasure of sitting in on a few of his weekend life drawing classes. Even though I wasn’t in animation school at the time, it was great to make the drive to CalArts and that he’d make himself available for these. He was a great instructor providing words of encouragement and guidance. And a treat to watch him sit down on the floor and join in with us, drawing for the day. All the above replies and more, are a testament to the type of individual he was. Thanks Corny. RIP

  • Shannon Blaney-Diforte

    Is Peter Cole, Corny’s twin brother, still living? Sending Big Hugs to all of Corny’s family members….

    • Shelli Regalado


    • Lucky Cole

      My brother Peter, Corny’s twin, is very much alive and well; Peter is being inducted into the Duke Kahanamoku Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame August 21st; this blog by Jerry and all the responses are more than enough hugs for the family; it is really, really appreciated; Corny’s talent, sense of humor, kindness and committment to excellence inspired his family too! Mahalo to all and Aloha. Lucky

  • Good bye dear friend.
    You have had a huge influence on my life.
    I met you when we were both students at Chouinard School of Art in the 50’s.
    One day you called me and said “Get over here there is an opening in the background dept at UPA.” I got the job thanks to you and it changed my life. I was working at the place in a boring technical art dept & very frustrated. Thanks to you Corny, I spent next 17 years working in animation as a key background painter. Then I had the courage to devote myself full time to fine art painting.
    Yes, Corny, old friend, you were the big reason I became the artist I am today. Thank you for being you.
    Bob Inman

  • Thanks Corny for pushing us to become better artists and appreciate this wonderful world. Your soul and vibrant energy lives on in every one of us you’ve taught. Say whats up to Mike Mitchell for us.

  • Heartbreaking but hopefully he’s off to a kinder place…no fires, no loss, no infirmity. God bless our spirited artist, friend and beloved colleague!

  • Ron

    Corny was always such an uplifting and encouraging teacher – and he was hilarious. He would share stories at your cubicle, help with a walk cycle, then later you’d hear his unmistakable voice saying “Where’s my mocha?!” This of course was what he’d accidentally (or not) spill onto the butcher paper on the floor as he was teaching gesture sketching/life drawing, and then use a stick to get an even better artistic effect with the spilled mocha! He still defines my mid-90s CalArts experience, and I hope we can all continue to share his infectious enthusiasm for this crazy and wonderful art form. God bless you, Corny.

  • RIP – Corny, you brought so much life, inspiration, and free thinking to many artists from all walks of life. You’ve always watched over and encouraged all to stand on two legs and warmed us with your humor. I’ve been inspired through your example to dig deeper, draw honestly, and be relentless. I will always cherish my experience with you, and, hope you’re having a great time wherever you are! I will miss you!

  • Ant

    Thank you so much for everything Corny. You will have no idea how much you changed my life. RIP

  • I was very sad to hear about Corny’s passing today. A wonderful talent has left us. His kindness and humor will be sadly missed. I feel blessed that I was able to meet him.

  • Bob Quinn

    So sad to hear.

    Corny was a great teacher and friend to me. One night in his figure workshop he accused me of being too tight…he scanned the area, grabbed a bamboo stick..about 5′ long, taped my prismacolor to the thing and said, “here draw with this” I did, and it helped.

    Years later he showed up in our figure workshop at Warner Bros. Feature…I was so glad to see him again, I walked up and gave him a big hug…he looked at me kinda funny, but now I’m so glad that I followed my impulse.

    I remember so many nights at Marvel when he’d unroll his roll of butcher paper in the upstairs hallway….hundreds of feet of drawing. And after hours, in the vinyl joints drinking coffee talking about it all.

    Corny was tremendously generous with his time and his care…we’ve all been so lucky.

    Rest well Mr. Cole

  • Thank you for everything, Corny! :(

    • Francisco Enciso

      Corny had a profound influence in our art, he will be missed.

  • ferp

    Goodbye Corny );

  • Chansoo Kim

    I’m sad to hear him passing. He was a kind, generous, funny, and most of all inspiring teacher. RIP, Corny.

  • I had the huge privilege of being Corny’s assistant on several projects back in the late 70’s. He was a giant. A sweet man. A genius. I owe him a lot. He gave me confidence and had the gift of grace. Miss you Bro. Catch a big one for me in the great beyond!

  • Such a huge talent and a great guy. I’ll never forget him graciously introducing me to the animation biz at age 14 back in the mid 70’s. It was a privilege to have known him and to have worked with him on so many classic projects. The original surf animator, Rest in Peace Corny.

  • Adios Corny. Thank you for being so kind to us all. You will never be forgotten.

  • I never worked in the business but saw his name on many films from some early 60s Roadrunners to the concurrent “Gay Purree” to many 50s-60s TV shows in various functions, as layout man, and production designer. In the one-off 1988 “Cartoon Quarterly” tryout mag another animation legend, Floyd Norman, who also “needs no introduction”, once remarked that you’d hire Corny if you really needed a good scene.RIP..didn’t know he was that young, either.

  • Tim D

    I just heard the news of Corny passing on. Corny was more then and artist and mentor to me. He was a true friend. While I was at Calarts Corny taught me to be an artist first and foremost.the hours and hours we drew together were hours I cherish to this day. His humor and wit were always present and he was always willing to share with his students. He reveled in our successes and always encouraged us. Thank you Corny for always believing in us….You will be missed.

  • Destiny

    I have known you half my life and its hard to imagine Calarts without you. I remember sitting in class with you for hours, talking and drawing, I was always happy to be around you, you made me smile and taught me so much.

  • akira

    I’ve been missing him for years already (since leaving calarts)! it’s such a huge loss for the future animators to not have this artistic influence deeply woven into their foundations especially in this cpu animation age. man, Corny created such beautiful sh!# that computers and probably no person in the future will be able to, or even attempt to do. when i was at calarts he had an incredible short film in progress with amazingly complex figure animation… i wish i could see that again, or see how far he got with it. thanks again Corny, i hear heaven has some choice surfing!

  • Cleveland Palmer

    Corny, I guess I have to carry the mantle and display all the things you have taught me. You really touched a lot of people from around the world and pulled no punches. A true legend that will be missed, it was an honor to draw, paint and learn in your presence. Thanks for everything.

  • what a great guy. loved his figure drawing class at usc. he would draw the coolest meandering drawings without lifting his marker from the board. doodling funny little characters one moment and loose, beautiful figures the next. all while sharing animation and surfing stories.

    corny cole was a badass! and won’t soon be forgotten.

  • Rich

    Just glad I had the chance to meet the man, be taught by him and say I knew him. Invaluable experience and I know a lot of people were lucky enough to have known the same feeling, as he never held back his desire to draw and create art and help others to perhaps achieve the same. What a guy, and what a loss.

  • Paul H. Kim

    Corny, you will be missed…

  • CHR

    Another veteran gone. Damn this year!


  • He’ll be remembered.

  • I was on the faculty at Cal Arts for 6 years and working with Corny in Portfolio Reviews,Student Reviews and faculty meeting was always a challenge and a delight.
    He advocated for those who “could draw”, allowed a place in his classes to nurture and promote each individual’s ability to render a line of their own.
    He, Mike Mitchell and Eva Roberts gave to Cal Arts so much in the way of understanding the craft as an art, showing the beauty of it, and allowing so much energy to flow in directions unexpected. The results are in the current fabric of the profession and elsewhere and will continue for the lifetimes of all who worked with him.
    I will miss him more than I currently know and he will be present as I make decisions on where a line should go.

  • Sad news, indeed. He marked my life as he did so many others, and I won’t forget his influence.

  • Will the sadness ever end? My sister died on Friday, she was an October baby too. Corny felt like family… he was in my life when my son was born, and he introduced me to so much about animation (as he did so many others). I met him back at Duck Soup as some of us did, but worked closely with him on several things and he helped me professionally and personally innumerable times. An incredible loss. A sweet, funny, charming genius, one of my favorite people. He leaves a hole in the universe.

  • Amy

    Thankful for so much inspiration Corny. Tears of gratitude today.

  • Sad News.

  • Mark Fleming

    As many have already stated a true inspiration. I was fortunate enough to spend a day at his home with him in the late 80’s just discussing drawing. A day the will never be forgotten. Thoughts and prayers with his family.

  • Tony Bancroft

    Corny was my first mentor and introduced me to the magic of animation. I will always rememeber his passion for drawing and teaching the next generation of talent. He was as kind hearted as he was talented.

  • eric semones

    Farewell Corny. Thank you for all you are. The surf is still great over in Venice near
    your old office. You’re inspiration led a legion of artists to do better.

  • Dan Haskett

    Corny spent a lifetime smashing holes in the boundaries of Hollywood animation. He did this with a devastating talent, a good heart, and a devilish wit. No more pain, Corny. Just loving memories. God Bless.

    • Eric Semones

      Farewell Corny, Thank you for all you are. The surf is still great over in Venice near
      your old office. Your inspiration led a legion of artists to do better.
      God Bless

  • Having grown-up in Venice, CA, I first learned of Corny and his twin brother Peter, through their reputation as outstanding surfers. I was little kid, with his first surfboard, but the two brothers’ surfing prowess was well known to me and the crowd I hung with. Many years later, during the almost 12 years I was directing and designing for Kurtz & Friends, I felt privileged to become his friend. Many hours spent discussing all corners of art and surfing…lots and lots of laughter. The studio lit up, whenever Corny was in the house. Can’t believe he won’t be around any longer to fill me in on the old days. I loved this man and will miss him greatly. Paddle on my friend!

    • Shelli Regalado

      Bill, Ron met the real “Gidget” and she told him that Corny taught her how to surf when they were both in their teens. She made Corny sandwiches in return for surf lessons. She said that the guys were kind of annoyed that this little girl was hanging around, but that Corny was always very kind and patient with her. Sounds just like Corny, doesn’t it?

  • Aw… bye Mr. Cole. WOW! My 1st job (Fine Arts Films). My 1st feature (Shinbone Alley). And the 1st cartoonist I collaborated with was Corny. How damn lucky was that?

  • Joshua Harrell

    Corny was (and is) an amazing person and a great teacher. I TA’d for his figure drawing classes at USC for several semesters… his encouraging and open approach in teaching was a strong model for me, and we were most fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from him first hand; I will always remember Corny as an all around beautiful human being.

    • bye dear Mr.Cole. My 1st job (FineArtsFilms). My 1st feature (Shinebone Alley). My 1st collaboration with another cartoonist (Corny Cole)!!! Pretty damn lucky, eh?

  • Samantha Mooney

    Rest in peace, Corny…. you are with Gary and all of the other oldtimers… making heaven a great place.

    I always liked watching you surf and it was fun to meet you down at Duck Soup….. decades ago.

    • Shelli Regalado

      We still miss Gary so damn much! We miss his talent and his f**king sense of humor!

  • Bret

    You made me laugh and I knew I liked you the minute you did.

  • I had the honor and privilege of studying under Corny for a summer at CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts). He was very instrumental in my growth as an artist,and how I looked at the human form. You are an amazing artist, Corny. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Be honest with yourself, be honest with your drawing… Corny was such a great mentor and friend to many. He had a true warm heart. My mind is a bit chaos but I am trying to focus and think about why Corny has been so valuable to myself…

    Corny used to say that without acknowledging and realizing the importance of the differences and individualism, impressionism would never have existed. And that animators should consider animation as the same way. Corny is the only one at Cal Arts that told me I can animate with watercolor when I was only 18 years old didn’t really know where I was going with this medium of animation. When I was 1st year at Cal Arts, Corny looked at my sketchbook and told me to animate my own drawing but nothing else. while drawing from life, Corny told me that the line and texture I use for drawing hair should be completely different from when I draw a hand. He told me I really need to observe… Observing, understanding the model’s personalities and feeling are more important than the actual drawing. I regret that I couldn’t make my visit to Corny’s home earlier and I am deeply sadden by our loss but I think everyone here should feel highly honored that we lived in the same time as Corny did.

  • parker

    Corney will be missed by thousands. He gave and with his heart and always always was funny! Even when he was yelling at you. As his model for 24 years, I for one, will cherish his wit, humor and stories! And watching him draw from up high was pure joy. No one can draw like that man! King of the draftmen. Treated us model like GOLD and FAMILY. Love you forever Corney. Don’t rest, DRAW G..DAMMIT! :) (that was his famous quote).

  • Mike R

    Corny was one of the most awesome and wonderful and giving people. In ’86 i didnt have a place to stay. I was best friends with his daughter and he invited me to stay with them until i got on my feet. I used to sit and watch him work on sketches, animations and various paintings he was always up to. It was pretty incredible to watch someone work so fast and yet be so careful/ great at it. No matter what the deal was, Corny had a great sense of humor about it (accept the time i borrowed his car w/o asking!) He also wrote beautiful and touching poetry. He loved his family, his friends, his cats, his dogs. The night of my 20th birthday i came home (to their home, that is) to a surprise birthday party. Thats the kind of family Corny raised, great, decent people. I’ll miss you Corny. And yes, I walked the dogs!

  • Heidi Smith

    I will miss you Corny!! Don’t bicker with Mike too much!

  • Bob Curtis

    I met Corney in 1949 while we were both sweeping floors at Choinard. My wife dated Corny and I worked with him from time to time. Then, years later our boys played basketball against each other. We went to Long Beach State and saw his wonderful film. Corny was a prince. He will be missed and missed and missed.

  • AL

    Corny truly made an impact on me while at Calarts. A dedicated man to the craft and treated us all as family.

  • RIP to my hero Corny Cole. “Draw Dammit.”

  • Visitatore

    May you rest in Peace, Corny!

  • Jack Heiter

    This is very sad news. Corny was one of the most talented people I knew, truly an overlooked genius. A lot of people didn’t know that Corny was a graphic poet, his drawings and animation, much unseen, told beautiful stories sublime. I have many great memories of Corny (and Marty Murphy) when we used to hang out at UPA, both great guys and always fun to be around and both had a great sense of humor. Even though I hadn’t seen Corny for a long time, I feel a big part of my life is missing now that he too is no longer around. He’s probably up There animating the Sistine Chapel and teaching Da Vinci how to surf.

  • A “Mad Genius” is what Corny was. I have memories of him hosting incredible underground drawing sessions held in abandoned buildings…after long days of academic teaching he still drew and drew and drew. He worked on rolls of butcher paper filled with countless drawings… He was playful, soulful and approachable. Corny gave and shared and provoked.

  • bob kurtz

    i remember once going to one of corny’s art openings of drawings on long rolls of butcher paper.beautiful drawings! some of the rolls were over a hundred and fifty feet long!!!!! so like corny.

  • Dominique Cole

    I wanted to thank Jerry and everyone for the beautiful words regarding my father. This is a very hard time for our family but these comments have meant the world to us. My Dad is the most amazing man I’ve ever known and I’m so happy others saw his beauty, talent, humor, goofiness, kindness and generosity. The fact that he’s inspired so many, gives me faith that he will live on for generations to come through art and human kindness. Thank you so much!!!!

  • I am so sad. He was my assigned mentor at CalArts my first year. I was very intimidated and nervous but he had nothing but kind and insperational words for me. I have often thought back to his guidance during trying times. Though the time I spent with him was short he has had a huge impact on my life. Thank you Corny I will miss you greatly.

  • From the first day I met Corny, he made me feel like family. Such a wonderful, uplifting and generous old soul… “Draw Goddammit!!!” When I was a CalArts hopeful, Corny would pick me up every Sunday in Santa Monica. He’d press the gas pedal for like 2 seconds, then let it go for 2 seconds …Rrrr!… Rrrr! …Rrrr! …all the way to CalArts! I never asked, but was he was trying to save on gas…??? Hahaha. He’d always tell the story about dipping his paint brush in his coffee: “…Didn’t do much for the taste, but look at that great color!” Such a great man and a true genius. Always one of my biggest role models for being a hard-working, honest, genuine artist, insane genius, family man and a true friend. Really miss you Corny!! Time for more amazing discussions with Mike and Eva :)

  • Monica Mayall

    I first met Corny when I was 20 and a receptionist at Ruby Spears, who so wanted to be a part, in some way, of the trendous creativity and skill so abundant at the studio at that time.

    Many writers and artists passed by my desk and I asked each, “Would you show me how to do what you do?” and each smiled and cheerfully said, “Oh, you don’t want to do what I do.” And then I asked Corny and he said, “Alright… Ummmm, ah, okay.” and wandered off as he was known to do. The next time I saw him he brought a book of DaVinci’s drawings and told me to trace them. When he returned I took out the book with tracings. He was amazed. He said, of all who had asked, I was the only one to have completed the assignment.

    That was the beginning of a great mentorship and friendship. Ten years later Corny would ask me to produce his Beastie Boys animated music video. It was a wonderful experience. My sons said of Corny, “If everyone was like Corny, Anarchy would work.” It was a testament to his generosity of spirit, his great humanity, and kindness.

    My other great mentor, Saul Bernstein, called to give me the sad news today, and as I was standing there in my classroom getting ready for another school year, my tears of sadness about my loss turned to tears of joy and determination as I realised, I am where I am today, I am who I am today – an art teacher – because of Corny Cole and Saul Bernstein…both who attended Chouinard and studied under Jepsem, Rico LeBrun, among other greats… and so their teachers were my teachers and Corny and Saul are my students’ teachers. May I in some small way stand on the shoulders of these giants and pass to the next generation what they passed to me. I am so blessed to have known Corny. There should be a special heaven for people that good.

    • Here’s the Beastie Boys video mentioned above:

      • Monica Mayall

        Michael – How’d you know it was Jimmy James?! But sorry, that’s not Corny’s version – his was full animation hand drawn and colored on frosted cels… the subject was Bali at the request of Adam Yauch (aka MCA), the group’s video producer, because he had just been there and loved it, gotten back and seen a pirated version of the cut footage from Heavy Metal and wanted Corny.At first Adam just wanted a sequence from Corny, but he ended up having us do the full song and then shelved it… somewhere in Capitol Records vaults… alas.

        I have it on VHS and 3/4″ format.

      • Monica Mayall

        In reading all the comments I want to share one very special memory of many – as evidence of Corny’s genius as a draftsman…

        About 1984/85 Corney had an open life drawing class when he was at Marvel so I would bring my mom and classmates from Saul’s class…

        One evening the model was reclining in an especially complex pose with lots of foreshortening. The room was silent as we were all working with such intense concentration to solve the challenge. Corny passed through the students checking unobtrusively and guiding quietly, as he often did. I was thinking of nothing but how on earth to get this to become something on my page. My mom tapped me on the shoulder. I ignored her. She grabbed my arm, and when I scowled at her she pointed to Corney at the chalkboard in the front of the room – behind the model – remembers that – he was drawing with his back to the model. I was instantly transfixed…

        And I saw something happen that was nothing short of a miracle…

        Corny had one piece of chalk in his right hand and he started drawing the model’s toes, feet, legs, then with that hand still drawing he picked up a piece of chalk with his left hand, extended his arm span and began drawing her hair, her face, her shoulders… momentarily glancing over his shoulder at the model, then continuing to draw with both hands until the drawing met in the middle – *perfectly*. From where I was standing looking at the model and then at the drawing behind her on the board and back again, then to the drawing again in disbelief, it captured her completely, the foreshortening, the difficult pose, and her spirit and her beauty – exactly.

        It took my breath away. And Corny just acted as if it wasn’t the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, and ever have seen to this day.

  • Terra Morgan

    Rest in peace Corny C., may heaven have a never ending cup of hot mocha for you, give my love to Mike M.

  • keo thongkham

    Corny was such a generous man, he would make people feel so welcome to visit and attend his class and talk with him even when you were not from his class! I for one was not in the film department, but he would take the time to talk with me and encourage me. He even came over to look at my work in my studio, I was so honored!
    He was the kind of teacher that wanted you to work from your heart and guts. I appreciate him very much. When my friends talk about CalArts, Corny is always someone whom we look up to remember and appreciate. We will all miss him greatly.
    What a wonderful human being, artist, mentor to so many of us.
    We love you and Thank you Corny!!!!

  • Nathan Bishop

    Corny was my mentor for three years at Cal Arts from 1992 to 1995. When I was unsure of my direction in school and what it was I really wanted to do, (which seemed like most of the time) he was the only one that offered encouragement and made me feel like if I just kept going it would all work out eventually.

    As everyone else has said, he was an amazing individual, there will never be another Corny Cole.

  • I had the honor of spending time with Corny at his home on several occasions during the making of Raggedy Ann and Andy. I never saw anyone before or since that could draw like that. He could visualize the most complicated compositions in his head and draw it without any rough construction. He was a one in a million….a true original.

  • Cathy Karol-Crowther

    Bye Corny. Corny taught me everything backwards in animation, such as filling out the exposure sheets under camera (maybe) You gave me my big break with the Flip Wilson show at Depatie Freleng. I met Duane, my late husband (and have fun with him now) through you and met everyone and Duck Soup at the wonderful Parkhurst bldg. on Main St. in Santa Monica.

    I know how much you appreciated me as an Artist and definitely made me feel successful right out of college.

    Best to all of you in the family. I always enjoyed all of you so much.
    Cathy Karol-Crowther

  • J.Jaculina

    For Corny: Our Mentor and Friend. Vio Con Dios Mi Amigo. May You have an infinite amount of Abba Zabbas, and say “hi” to Mike for the rest of us.

  • Bill Kroyer

    I first met Corny when we were freelancing on TV commercials in the mid-seventies. I was fresh from Chicago, living in a small studio apartment in West Hollywood – near Cole Avenue. I jokingly asked Corny if his name was spelled like the street, and he told me that not only was it the same spelling; it was named after his ancestors, who had come to California literally in a covered wagon. Having the misconception that everybody in California was from somewhere else, it struck a chord with me to have met someone who claimed to be a true native. Talking to Corny, watching him work, I could never forget this part of him that I felt was a unique factor in his originality. He came from a pioneer tradition, and that quality of eternally seeking the newness in any idea was inspirational to all who worked with him. If there is a laudable aspect of being a Southern Californian, with its reputation as a culture that is drawn toward the best of what is new, Corny was the finest representative of that virtue.

  • Thank you Corny for being an inspiring mentor. When I was unsure of the future, you taught my fellow students and I to be well rounded. To keep creating for ourselves and friends. Thank you for sharing your floor with us and letting us watch you paint, I learned so much from your classes. I will never stop drawing. Rest well, I’m sure you are surfing, drawing in the sand, with a nice cup of coffee at your side.

    • Seems that I have always know Corny…and like anyone that even knew him for a second, they were blessed. Once when staying with Corny at the trailer at the Beach, on one of my trips out from Hawaii…Corny had a job that was coming up, it was a TV special of a well known Sunday Comic character. He needed to watch the Saturday Morning version of the show to get an idea of what he was being hired to do. After watching it for about a minute, he said ” This will be a job for my left hand”. As a person he was already an Angel…as an artist that brought the artist out in others…he was a living treasure. I will treasure our time together forever.

  • Handel

    Thanks Corny.
    For making it not just class, but for making it fun as well. You are loved and you are missed.

    We’ll have some coffee when I see you next. Brew a fresh pot and keep a neighboring cloud warm for me.

  • Arthur Leonardi

    I worked with Corny at Warner Brothers and DePatie-Freleng Productions. Losing Corny is a great loss to everyone who knew him and to all fellow artists that never had the pleasure to share time with him. A true creative Artist who lived for his Art. His joy came from his art and sharing his talents and knowledge with all the young up and coming artists. All the above tributes to Corny say it much better than I could on what a wonderful caring person Corning was – and still is in our thoughts and hearts.

  • He was my mentor, my Sketch Teacher at Cal Arts and a dear friend. He helped me and gave me advice on my portfolio and demo reels. He will be missed.

  • Yes somehow the Sketch groups somehow stopped after the fires and I was trying to get back to it but I don’t think Corney Continued after that. It would be nice if there was another Sketch group like that for those people who can’t afford the expensive prices of Life Drawings these days. I was waiting for Cal Arts to bring it back.

  • John Hassell

    My most favorite teacher ever!!!
    Love you Corney.

  • Ken Boyer

    Corny was best friends with my first mentor Glenn Schmitz. They met in grade school, lived on the same block, went on to attend classes together at Chouinard & then both started at Disney in the 1950’s. Glenn introduced me to Corny when I first started working in 1982. What a TRUE artistic spirit! I had the pleasure of working closely with him several times over the years. Most notably on the Chipmunk Adventure & while I was teaching at Cal-Arts. I always felt I had a special connection with him. But then, I think he has that effect on everyone he befriends. He will be VERY missed!

  • David Ingham

    I am so blessed and proud that Corny Cole was my cousin and a profoundly enlightening influence in my life.

    I had the joy of working with Corny as an Assistant Animator when I was 20…I had no interest in “commercial” art, I was a “fine artist”, but I loved my cousin Corny, so how could I refuse and…it was $150 bucks a week!

    And so, for a short while, I got to draw, (Directly on frosted cels with Write Brothers ball points and painting on the back), shoulder to shoulder with Corny. But mostly, I learned from the “World of Corny”, a magical other realm of possibilities from the unconditional acknowledgment and encouragement of one of the most perfect beings…ever

    He always made me fly.

    He was a true artist, which could at times bear upon his family and “real” life, but fortunately he was surrounded by loving people who recognized that he was a unique, eccentric, wonderful, inspiring artistic angel, and we were so blessed by his mastery, humility and respectfulness.

    It’s so beautiful and inspiring to read this outpouring of love from all of you. A true tribute to the soul of Corny…Joy, truth and love

    He will always live in our hearts.

  • David Silverman

    Just heard about this. Very sad to hear! Had only a few classes with Corny, and he was a real delight and inspiration. A brilliant artist and designer, a one of a kind draftsman, and I am glad to have known him.

    In 1988 I was in Hawaii – my first time – for a friend’s wedding. Wouldn’t you know, one of the groom’s pal was a nephew of Corny’s! Yep, small world. Went to his dad’s house on the North Shore (sorry, I forget if it was Peter – I think so – it was a while back!) and well, I was shown a number of things Corny had done when he was like 12. Unbelievable how fantastic his work was, even at that early age. Design, color, balance, drawing skills — all there. Totally mindblowingly professional.

    And a lovely man. Certainly will be missed.

  • Kris Sherwood

    Oh, this is very sad news! I’ve only just learned of Corny’s passing or would have posted a comment much sooner. Animation has lost one of its truly great artists and human beings. I am blessed to have many rich memories of working with Corny over the years, beginning in the mid 70s at Spungbuggy Works, where I worked as an assistant animator, and then as production manager and producer on numerous TVCs that Corny directed, designed, laid out, and animated. It was during that time that he suffered the heartbreak of losing his beloved wife, Dawn, to cancer, and our hearts broke with him. Some years later we again worked together at Duck Soup Produckions on a number of projects. (In those days my name was Kris Weber)

    My late father was a Santa Monica policeman who had remembered Corny and his twin brother as a familiar local sight when they were young surfers driving their old Woody around town loaded with surfboards. Somewhere in my memorabilia I have a sketch that Corny did for me of that memory my Dad recounted. Years later, coincidentally, my daughter went to SaMoHi with Corny’s son, Ryan. Such a small, interconnected world!

    One of my most humorous memories of Corny is of one late night that the Spungbuggy crew was working against a deadline to get a pencil test to camera, with Corny animating the last of it just minutes ahead of the cameraman. Their jobs being done, the rest of the crew had left and Corny and I remained to see the animation to camera. Not wanting me to have to stay any later he kindly offered: “Why don’t you go home and I’ll drop the rest off at camera?”. Bleary eyed and grateful for the suggestion, I gave him what I thought to be a front door key to Spungbuggy so he could let himself out and lock up when he finished. I left, locking the downstairs door and went on home. When I got there and tried to open my own door I realized with horror I’d given Corny my front door key instead of the spare Spungbuggy key! After finally getting inside I called both Spungbuggy and the camera service and got no answer. I learned the next day that after finding himself locked in Corny had climbed out a window of the upstairs studio at Sunset and La Cienega with the big beat up suitcase that he always carried with him full of his art, and had shimmied over the front of the upstairs balcony and jumped down to the sidewalk below! It was well after midnight and he must have looked quite a suspicious sight to any passersby. Miraculously, he made the camera deadline too! In his enduringly good humored way he never let me forget the deadline night I locked him in, and would laugh heartily every time he recounted it whenever I saw him over the following years.

    He was a gregarious, generous soul, who shared his talent, humor, and heart with so many, and has left a legacy of brilliant art and animation, laughter and fond memories, and has been an inspiration to countless artists who he taught, worked with, mentored, and encouraged to find their own ways of expressing their art. Thank you dear Corny, you might have been a twin but you were truly one of a kind and we’ll never forget you

  • what a passionate soul! almost 15 years ago, i had the pleasure of studying under corny, as a junior in high school, at the cal state summer school for the arts program @ cal arts.

    at the time, i remember looking up at this guy who was much older than me in years, but seemed to be more alive than any person i had ever met. having put aside my dream of being an animator for far too long, i was listening to the podcast archives of the spline cast when i heard doug sweetland bring up corny… i immediately searched “corny cole” and was remiss to find this post.

    corny helped me understand the “life” behind life drawing and i will never forget his spirit. thank you corny :)