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Rusty Mills, RIP

Sad news to relay: veteran animator, producer and director Rusty Mills (Animaniacs, Pink Panther, Pinky and the Brain, etc.) passed away yesterday, due to organ failure from colon cancer.

To say he was one of the “good guys” is an understatement. I really only knew Rusty from industry social functions (usually annual Christmas parties and through various mutual acquaintances) but he was always friendly and truly interested in advancing the cause of creating good cartoons. He will be missed.

The Animation Guild is reporting that Rusty’s wife, Andrea, and Evan, their 15 year old son, could really use help. Please visit their fundraising blog and give what you can.

As a personal tribute, let’s take look at one of his episodes of Animaniacs, a holiday themed cartoon – A Christmas Plotz:

  • ParamountCartoons

    Animaniacs is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, and it’s too bad he passed away. He will be remembered for directing my favorite Christmas episode of the entire series (as well as other cartoons, as well as being a name I recongized immediately from the end credits of the show). I had this episode on the VHS “Hellooo Holidays“, which was first relased when Animaniacs was still airing on Fox Kids.

    This particular episode is a really good one to remember Rusty Mills for – thanks, Jerry. You obviously picked it because Christmas is near, noting the Dickens Christmas Carol references (which flied over my young head until years later when I saw the Jetsons, Mickey Mouse and Mr. Magoo versions). But what also got to me was the music conducted by the late Richard Stone’s orchestra (he passed away in 2001).

    It’s been a tough time – losing Mr. Mills this year, and last year’s passing of Earl Kress. They did great work on a show that will be long remembered.

  • Austin Papageorge

    I truly believe that the Christmas episodes of Animaniacs are gems. Rusty Mill’s episode being the best. He deserves a lot of praise for what he did for that show.


  • Toonio

    Jesus Christ what is wrong with this world where the good guys are leaving and the crappy ones keep going up those proverbial corporate ladders.

    Anywhoo. Thanks Rusty for the limitless laughs and all the inspiration. See you later on the other side hoping to see what you have over there.

  • cynthia french

    I was very saddened to hear of Rusty’s passing. Though not unexpected it is still so tragic. He was my storyboard instructor a few times and he was a wonderful teacher and an upstanding person. I will miss him dearly. Be at peace my friend.

  • Unicron8

    Rest in peace, Rusty. Thanks for introducing kids to good cartoons.

  • Jon

    Thank you for your art…

  • James Madison

    Thanks for the great work, Rusty.

  • Michel Van

    So many great animators died this year, but this hurts the deepest. I adore the Animaniacs for its fresh new way by the use of anarchic humor of the Marx Brothers.

    My deepest condolences to the Mills family.

  • Tom

    Rusty taught the Toon Boom seminar I took a few years ago, and was a great, warm instructor with a passion for the medium. Very sad news to hear.

  • Ryan Haight

    As a kid I was proud to call Rusty my uncle (related on his wife’s side). He was always a kid favorite of ours come Christmas time. It felt more legitimate having a drawing of Pinky and the Brain or the Animaniacs from the source itself.

    He was a genuinely kind and funny man, and I only wish I had had the opportunity to spend time with him as an adult. His final passing was so swift.. I had hoped for a chance to meet him again. You will be missed, Rusty.

  • I got to know Rusty through the Make a Film Foundation. He helped us produce a short film for a kid with a rare disease. He was smart, selfless and hardworking. I wish his family all the best.

  • Rusty was my assistant on an interactive project in the late 80’s. He was so talented and fun to work with. And extremely savvy about technical issues. I learned a lot from him. You’re right, Jerry he was one of the good guys. I’m sorry I lost touch with him. He will truly be missed.

  • Ltcoach

    Rusty was of great help to us in being a mentor to our daughter on her senior project in high school. He respected her and encouraged her not to let the fact she has Autism stop her dream of becoming an illustrator/animator. She learned so much about animation and the industry. This allowed her to create an animated cartoon that her high school teacher shows to her classes every year as a standard of quality for others to match. And today, she is continuing her studies. We will forever be grateful to him. RIP, Mr. Mills and Thank You!