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Bill Littlejohn Interview

Bill Littlejohn
Above: Bill Littlejohn at Playhouse Pictures in 1962

Whenever I’m depressed about the state of contemporary animation, I think about what inspires and excites me about this art form. One of those things is great animation, the type of abstracted and invented movement (largely non-existent today) that is unique to the medium, and which was practiced by master animators like Rod Scribner, Jim Tyer, Grim Natwick, Bobe Cannon, Emery Hawkins and Bill Littlejohn. Of those animators, only Littlejohn is still alive, and Tom Sito recently did this great interview with the legendary Littlejohn.

I’d often heard the story that during the early-’50s the animation business was so slow that Littlejohn took a job at a car dealership. It’s hard to believe that an animator of his caliber could ever be lacking for work but Littlejohn indeed confirms the story in this interview. Of course, things eventually picked up and from the mid-’50s onwards, he animated for just about every commercial studio in LA including Storyboard, Animation Inc., Playhouse Pictures, Fine Arts Films and many others.

To learn more about Littlejohn, here are a few more links:
Personal memories of Littlejohn by June Foray

A few thoughts about his work from director Michael Sporn

My thoughts on the great drawing in one of Littlejohn’s commercials

  • chris robinson

    you should think about me when you’re depressed.

    think about old man hats…gay hang-gliding.
    stuff like that.

  • How weird, I am editing a video with Bill Littlejohn as we speak. I went over to his house over the weekend and man is he funny. Not only is his work great, but he’s very witty. He had some great things to say about June Foray. Great Post Amid!!!

  • Littlejohn is truly one of the all-time greats of animation. And he is a genuinely nice person. He is brilliant and energetic and very supportive of new animators. I’m pleased to hear that his story is being told. Keep up the good work Tom & Gavin.


    I was introduced to Bill Littlejohn in 2007 at his home in Malibu and as a person who loves animation,seeing his work the man is brilliant and a very wonderful person.Iam pleased to hear that someone is telling his story.