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AnimatorsFeature Film

Corny Cole loses home in California wild fires

Legendary animator and CalArts faculty Corny Cole has lost his home and everything in it during the recent fires in Southern California. Corny evacuated before the fire hit and is unharmed, but his home, pets, and all of his artwork, save for what he has in his office at CalArts, are gone. LA’s KTTV has posted a story about him on their website.

Update #1: The Creative Talent Network held an online fundraiser. The CTN fundraiser has closed and on Oct 24th at midnight the total was $12,168.00 donated. CTN will be handing a cashiers check to Corny for $12,168.00 before Nov. 1st along with the list of donors (See the Comments below for the list of donors).

Update #2: Jeff Pidgeon has informed us that you can make a check payable to Cornelius Cole and mail it to:

California Institute of the Arts
ATT: Trish Patryla, Office of the Provost
24700 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91355

Update #3: CalArts is providing housing for Corny, so he’s being well cared for. They’ve even stocked the place up with food for him. One of his cats has been found alive and well, and Jackie at Cal Arts is checking area animal shelters for more. So keep your fingers crossed.

(Thanks, Nathan Strum & Jeff Pidgeon)

  • ovi

    ugh, thats terrible.

    i just met another artists that said he lost his home and all his work in a fire as well about 2 years ago.

  • Aleksandar Vujovic

    I can’t even imagine what Corny feels like right now. He’ll be in my prayers from now on.

  • EAS

    I called the school and they said they are meeting today to try and deiced how best we can help. They requested that I call back later today and find out what they have decided.
    This is truly sad news. It would be great to all pitch in and help him out.

  • That’s really sad. He sounds like he has a good attitude about it all but that’s really sad about his pets. Take care Corny.

  • That sucks! What’s with the forest fires? That’s two in the LA area this year right?

  • I’m really sorry to hear about this. That’s an incredible loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to him.

  • Brianne

    Corny hang in there! We’re here for you!

  • Dan

    That is terrible. I’m so sad to hear this news. There was so much treasure in that house. There must be something poetic about the loss. I’m glad Corny is alright. If there’s anything I can do…Please keep us posted on what we can do to help.

  • Corny, you were so supportive when our house burned down back when i was in school… this time maybe we all can help you somehow! Anything at all, let us know!

  • I’m so sorry to hear this. Your life’s work and pets, all gone. One couldn’t begin to comprehend this. My thoughts are with you, Mr. Cole.

  • Rich

    Can’t even imagine…

    I contacted the school, the alumni and staff are planning a fundraiser.

  • My prayers are with you Corny. You helped bring my brother and I into the world of animation back in the 80s when you would stay late nights and work with eager animation wanna-bees at Marvel Productions. We would drive in all the way from Anaheim to take your classes, remember? I remember the long scrolls of your drawings you had that dated back to the 60s! If those were lost in this fire, that is a terrible loss! So sorry to hear about your animals too. God bless your recovery, Corny, you’ve done so much for others- I hope you let them help you now.

  • ZigZag

    Corny was one of my most endeared professors while I was a student at CalArts. I can’t say how he feels about this tragedy, but I do have faith that his unyielding energy and passion for his craft will surprise us all. He was always an inspiration, and will continue to be. Regardless of whether or not we were a student of his, we who love our industry and art form owe him a great debt. It’s time to pay up.

  • Kurt Nielsen

    Corny, we love you and will help in any way.

    God bless you and your wife.

  • I’m so sorry to hear this. I owe Corny a debt of gratitude for bringing me into the animation biz in the 70’s. So much has been lost, I can’t imagine. I’m glad he’s ok, and I wish him all the best.

  • Carlos

    Corny was the first teacher to look at my portfolio last year before I applied. Such a nice guy, I hope all of us at Calarts can pull together to help Corny through this…

  • Sara

    This is really terrible. I don’t know Mr. Cole personally, but it must be awful for him to have lost so many irreplaceable works of art and I can always feel deeply for someone who is most saddened by the loss of the animals in his life. Please do keep us posted on anything that animation fans might be able to do to help Mr. Cole through this difficult time.

  • julian

    you have given so much corny now let us give back-many blessings and im here.

  • Dearest Corny. I am terribly sorry to hear about this disaster. All my continuing friendship goes to you and let me know in which way I could help. Your old mate, Oscar

  • Heartbreaking news – what an awful loss. I’m just thankful that Corny and his wife are ok. Corny has given me non-stop artistic inspiration and support ever since I moved out to LA – my thoughts and prayers go out to them. I hope to help out however I can.

  • I’m so sorry for Corny Cole. It’s so devastating for him to lose everything that way. I just don’t know what to say, except that I hope he’ll be all right, and he has our sincerest support and condolences.

  • That poor guy. I can only imagine what the animals went through and how heartbroken he must feel.

    Still it is nice to see just how many friends Cory has who are eager to help him get back on track.

  • Oh poor Corny! What can we do to help him? Is there a fund or a… SOMETHING? Aw, his poor dog Murphy and the cats it would protect. This is just just horrible!

  • Oh, no … that is horrible news. I’m just sick to hear about this happening to anyone, but especially one of our own . All that wonderful artwork and his poor pets . This is heartbreaking.

    This really hits home for me too because I used to live in Lake View Terrace near to where this happened. This could have been me.

    Amid and Jerry: Please do keep us informed of how to contribute to any sort of fundraiser that Cal Arts has to help out Corny . (he’s given so much to so many in our community . )

    Corny, if you’re reading this, hang in there and know that a lot of us are pulling for you and care for you.

  • Hey Corny!

    I hope you remember me from Kurtz and Friends. Last time I saw you was at the Annies where you had your hair braided. :)

    Let us know what we can do — !

    Much Love.

  • Poor Corny!!! Man, I can’t even imagine..
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you sir!

  • I hope he is doing alright. :(

  • This is truly tragic! I’m just glad he survived.
    This may be the only worthwhile thing a local Fox news channel has reported on.

  • T M

    I am lucky enough to have Corny as a professor currently, and I have never met anyone quite so inspirational and motivational as he is. He is truly an amazing teacher, mentor, artist, and person.

    Calarts is in talks of planning an art auction to help raise funds to help Corny in this difficult time. I’m sure more information will become available in a few days, as far as when the auction will be held, where people can direct donations, resources, art, etc.

    This is truly a tragedy, but I’m sure Corny and Calarts truly appreciates the astounding compassion the animation community is showing in this situation.

  • It’s always really sad to hear when people lose pets in fires.

  • Matt Crowther

    Wow, that’s terrible. Corny and my father Duane Crowther founded Duck Soup together back in the 70s- I am just glad he is OK.

  • How devastating.

    I know the animation community is full of good people, and many friends (as evidenced by this comment thread alone) and even people who don’t know Mr. Cole will be willing to help him out now, as we would want people to help us in our time of need.

  • Mr. Semaj

    It always sucks when an artist loses his history. :(

  • MattSullivan

    Corny was one of my favorite instructors. He didn’t deserve this.

    Corny, we’re all thinking of ya buddy.

  • Keith Paynter

    Tragic loss. Glad to see so many rally to his aid. Sad about the loss of his dog, and while any personal effects and memento loss is a shame, be thankful that he is still with us. If he had stayed, it could have been worse.

  • Corny was one of the wonderful professors when I attended CSSA years ago. He is an inspiration and hero to many. Please update us with how we can help in any fundraisers.

    I’m so glad that you are safe, Corny. But also so sad for your loss. Hang in there!

  • Our prayers are with you and your family tonight Corny. I’m truly sorry to here that you lost so much work. But take heart, for you have inspired more people than you know and your art lives in all of them. You’re the thread that ties a very large tapestry of animators together. We all love you and are here to help and any way we can.

  • Corny Cole remains one of animation’s most unique talents and personalities — a real cartoonist’s cartoonist — not to mention how beloved he is by those of us who have worked with him or were/are students of his. As awful as this tragedy was for him, please rest assured that Corny is essentially undefeatable and that his irrepressable energy will keep him moving forward. After all, he survived working for Ross and Janice and he’ll survive this!

    That said, keep your eyes open for news of a charitable effort to help put Corny back on his feet, an inevitable event in which we should all participate.

  • Sylvia & Calvin Leduc

    Dear Corny,

    We were horrified to hear this. You have always been such a great friend, no one deserves this to happen, least of all you. Your work will live on in the hearts of all those who you have met and inspired. Never stop creating. We will help you in every possible way. Best wishes.

  • Corny… I am so sorry. Will contact Cal Arts to see what I can do to help.

    love always.

  • Jean Gillmore

    Corny!!! I had no idea you were living up there! SOOOOOOO sorry about the animals!
    I have some copies of your political artwork from way back, which I would be HAPPY and proud to give back to you for keeping. Also, I would like to make a monetary donation toward your re-establishment, if you will only tell me where to send it.
    It’s the least I can do after all the fun and sage teaching you provided us all at Marvel Studios in the mid-80s.
    Please contact me.

  • Rhett Wickham

    Dear Corny,
    My heart breaks for you at the loss of your animals. I cannot imagine the pain.
    You are in our prayers and thoughts.

    How very grateful we are that you were spared, and that your unrelenting vision, enormous talent, and great, kind, loving spirit are still here with us. For this we are truly blessed.

    Sending you healing, loving thoughts.

  • Dean Yeagle

    This is a great shock – Corny, we met only briefly, back in NYC in the 80’s, but I’ve always admired your work with its incredible fluidity, style and attention to detail. It’s horrible to lose so much of your past, and the loss of your pets must be terribly painful. We rushed back from visiting friends when we happened to see reports of the Sierra Madre fire – our cat and most of our artwork was in our house, and the fire came within blocks, but didn’t touch us. It was a scare, though, and gives us at least a small indication of what you’ve been through.

    Be comforted that you have many friends and admirers among those whose lives you’ve touched; I’m sure any of us would be more than willing to help if we can.
    – Dean

  • Creative Talent Network has now set up a PayPal account where contributions can be made to Corny :

    Corny Cole Fund

  • Russ Mooney

    Dear pal Corny,

    It’s been too long and I owe so much to you and Dwane and your generation. Bad year, losing Gary and now hearing about this disaster. I will keep a weather eye out on the fund raiser and let everyone I know about this. Be well old friend.

  • Creative Talent Network has now set up a PayPal account where contributions can be made to help Corny.

    Corny Cole Fund

  • We are all so sorry and saddened to hear of your unimaginably tragic loss, our hearts break for you. You are someone who really gives back to the animation community, passing your talents, skills and inspiration onto the next generations of artists, and even extending yourself to dedicating your life to caring for your pets. You are a truly amazing person and role model, and I’m sure everyone now wants to “give back” to you in your hour of need. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and may the outpouring of love, support and blessings be some consolation to you.

  • David Nethery & Craig Clark,

    Thanks for letting us know where the fund’s been set up! I love that guy and hate to think of all the stress and heartache he’s having to go through. He’s one cool cat, even if after SEVEN years he never got my name right until AFTER I graduated. “Ohhh… hi, Jeffy (Jason, Jared, Jimmy, Chester, etc…) haha

    Corny, you’re one of a kind.

  • Carolyn Bates

    Nick & I were deeply saddened by the tragic news but thank god Corny’s ok. I enjoyed every hour I got to sit near Corny while he was working on those great 9-Lives, Froot Loops and Poppy Porcupine commercials at Duck Soup. It was fascinating being able to watch Corny draw using both hands with equal dexterity, and skip out to the beach and hear his amazing surfing stories. He’s a sweetheart of a guy. Thanks to Tina for alerting me to the fund.

    Corny be well. You are much loved.

  • Monica Mayall

    Jennifer Jeremich in Donations at Cal Arts is coordinating a fund raising Art Auction on Corny’s behalf. She is gathering a contact list for all the artists who want to make a donation of their work. She can be contacted at [email protected] or 661-260-3696. Location and date yet to be determined. She has been contacted by Pixar, Disney, and many others with an outpouring of concern and support.

    I am looking for a gallery to host a show of Corny’s work in the next few months because that would mean the world to him. Please contact me with any information you might have to facilitate this and I will coordinate.

    Corny and wife Linda will not ask for your support or donations but being a person who’s life was touched by the influence of Corny’s talent, kind encouragement, and inspiring teaching I will not hesitate to ask on their behalf. The need is great.

    Thank you,
    Monica Mayall, [email protected]

  • Monica Mayall

    If you know Corny you know he’s technologically challenged… I just got off the phone from reading Corny all your kind sentiments and heartfelt wishes. He was surprised at the outpouring of support. He remembers each of you. Corny was very moved by your recollections and even laughed at the jokes – It was so wonderful to hear him laugh :o) He thanks you and sends his warmest regards. He sounded much better after hearing your notes. I will continue to monitor this discussion, print it, and pass along your kindness – it means so much to Corny and his wife.

    You probably don’t recognize my name – not like the other notable artists here – I’m now a public high school art teacher in Watts – the animation studio receptionist that Corny took the time for and taught to draw when everyone else just saw a production assistant. My life has been made so rich by his generous spirit and love of art – indebted, I’m doing my best to pay it forward. A remarkable teacher and person, his influence reaches further than one can imagine.

  • Nancy Beiman

    What horrible news. I never met Corny but of course know his work. I sent some money to the CTN fund and linked to their donation site on my own blog as well. Money can’t buy love…the loss of the pets is particularly poignant. But at least Corny and his wife are well and posessions…including artwork…can be replaced.

  • Awww Corny…man, I wouldn’t be as far along as I am without you. I hope it all pulls together for you and your heart finds some comfort in the well-wishes you’re being showered with.

  • My deepest regret for your pets and your home. I will never forget our times together at Duck Soup, and to discover you are the twin brother of my surfing hero- Peter Cole. You were an inspiration to me when I was just knee high to a grasshopper in animation, learning the craft from you, Duane, and Amby. I especially enjoyed your surfing stories of Waimea Bay. Let’s turn this tragedy into a blessing, having friends in need is worth its weight in gold. I will catch a wave for you, and give what I can to your fundraiser. Aloha Brah!

  • Tim Decker

    I’ve been sick since hearing this. Corny has been a major inspiration in my life. He always was able to inspire all of us. I am sorry for the loss of the art but, I am thankful Corny is still with us. Corny you are in my prayers. I will help out in any way I can.
    Corny you are loved !

  • My heart goes out to Corny for this enormous loss … I remember when I was putting my reel together at Cal Arts as I was about to leave the MFA program and Corny sat with me in one of those little edit rooms in the basement to respond to the reel as a cold reader. Corny has a fantastic “eye” and ability to foster the best in another’s work. I was in the Experimental Animation Dept, not the Character Animation Dept., so that I was getting a POV from someone who was not my faculty. Corny inspired me in the very responses he articulated. A true mentor in his ability to uplift and instruct.

    What a gift you are Corny Cole! You wore that awesome red velvet beret the day you so generously gave a couple of hours of your time to me and my work … you are VERY beloved by many!! Our good thoughts are with you as you begin to create a new series of artworks. The fire may have destroyed the physical presence of your artwork for others to see, but the art itself lives on in your vision and soon enough will exist again. I’m so sorry you had to go through this, as it is a tragedy of loss of your precious animals. Clearly, however, as seen by the outpouring of love and respect for you by so many others, you will be uplifted and great new art-making will flow in to fill that void.

  • Kurt Nielsen

    Just got this message via e-mail…

    For those of you who have asked for advice on how to get financial
    assistance to Corny, we have designated a primary point person who will collect funds for him. Any checks should be made payable to Cornelius Cole and sent to the following address:

    California Institute of the Arts
    ATT: Trish Patryla, Office of the Provost
    24700 McBean Parkway
    Valencia, CA 91355

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me, and I will
    respond as soon as possible. On behalf of Corny and Linda, thank
    you so much for your concern and well wishes.

    — Jennifer Jeremich ([email protected])

  • Greg

    Sorry for your loss, Corny. You’ve touched so many of our lives as a great inspiration and mentor. I am grateful to have this opportunity to give a little back in return. Take care.

  • Nathan Strum

    Hi everyone,

    A few clarifications:

    CalArts is not coordinating the art auction. Please do not contact Jennifer (who works in the Character Animation office – not fundraising) or the Institute regarding this. There will certainly be an art auction, and it may even be held at CalArts, but we are not the ones organizing it. When we hear more details about the art auction and who to contact about it, we’ll help to spread that information. (If the moderators here could amend Monica’s post regarding that, we would appreciate it.)

    Also, the Creative Talent Network’s fundraising efforts are separate from what CalArts is doing. Our official information is as follows:


    CalArts has had many requests about helping Corny Cole recover from the loss of his home in the Marek fire earlier this week. Your compassion is deeply appreciated not only by Corny and his wife, Linda, but also by all of us at CalArts who care about their well being. For any of you that are not aware of his circumstances, his home, all of his artwork, books, supplies and his beloved animals were lost in the fire.

    For those of you who have asked for advice on how to get financial assistance to Corny, we have designated a primary point person who will collect funds for him. Any cash or checks should be made payable to Cornelius Cole and sent to the following address:

    California Institute of the Arts
    ATT: Trish Patryla, Office of the Provost
    24700 McBean Parkway
    Valencia, CA 91355

    If you have any questions, please feel free to email me, and I will respond as soon as possible. On behalf of Corny and Linda, thank you so much for your concern and well wishes.

    Trish Patryla
    [email protected]
    661 222-2732


    Please contact Trish if you’d like to make a donation directly to Corny.

    A couple of additional updates:

    CalArts is providing housing for Corny, so he’s no longer staying in a hotel.

    One of his cats has been found alive and well, and we’ll be checking area animal shelters for more. So keep your fingers crossed.

    Nathan Strum
    CalArts Character Animation

  • Corny was the first one to look at my portfolio and even gave me help via the mail to get better while I was still in highschool. I feel like part of why I’m in animation now is because of his generosity.
    I’m passing this along to all my coworkers, I know a lot of them were taught by Corny, too.

  • Corny is my cousin and has always been a tremendous inspiration and mentor for me. I had the unique gift of working for him as his assistant in the early 70’s. Nothing in my life has been more magical than sharing and absorbing the pure artistry of this incredible artist and wacky/wonderful character.

    He is the definition of an artist and one of the kindest and most caring humans one could ever know.

    When he received his life-time achievement Annie award, Bob Kurtz (another animation legend) who presented it to Corny, sited a few Cornyisms…one when they were leaving a studio and Bob was helping carry some of Corny’s drawing to his car. It was drizzling rain. Bob saw that Corny’s car had no wipers and asked what it was like when he drove in the rain? Corny said, “It’s like a Monet.”

    BTW the fire was on his birthday.

  • Carolyn Bates

    On Corny’s car. It was easy to ID: tall guy in a straw panama, driving the only mercedes on the westside emblazoned with V13 (Venice gang grafitti). So cool.

  • Holy crap! That’s horrible…I could see the fire from my house. I’m glad you got out okay!
    Yeah, they should have an art auction at Calarts!

  • Jeff Howard

    Hey Corny, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, your pets and especially your amazing artwork. You’re a true original. I know how resilient you are and I wish you the best. I’ve got some “Poppy” and Froot Loops board copies and an original reject drawing from History of Evil, if you want them. That was some of the craziest $#!+ I ever worked on, and that’s saying something. It was an honor to assist you!

  • Oh no!!!!!!!!
    Were here for you Corny!

  • Carolyn Chrisman

    Hang in there, Corny!

  • Tina Price of the Creative Talent Network sent in this news:

    The CTN fundraiser has closed and on Oct 24th at midnight the total was $12,168.00 donated.

    On behalf of all who helped spread the word I want to personally say “thank you”. CTN will be handing a cashiers check to Corny for $12,168.00 this week along with the list of donors.

    Individual Donors:
    Andi Ackerman
    Tim Allen
    Niklas Kragh Andersen
    Ruben Aquino
    Gregory Araya
    Andrew Arett
    Dale Baer
    Thomas Baker
    Benjamin Balistreri
    Carolyn Bates
    Pat Beckmann
    Nancy Beiman
    Jeremy Bernstein
    Dominic Bisignano
    Paul Bolger
    Thorsten Bruemmel
    Mike Caracappa
    Charles Carney
    Rebecca Caviness
    Chen-Yi Chang
    Edwin Chang
    Yarrow Cheney
    Tenny Chonin
    Carolyn Chrisman
    Casey Coffey
    David Conlon
    Dan Cooper
    Jason Courtney
    Robert Curtis
    Andreas Deja
    Meredith Dillman
    Aimee Dozois
    Craig Elliott
    James Ellis
    Loretta Estrada
    Michael Feil
    Cecilia Fletcher
    Robert M. Foster
    Erin Fujioka
    Mike Gabriel
    Joanne Garcia
    Raul Garcia
    Rajrupa Ghosh
    Jean Gillmore
    Eric and Susan Goldberg
    Steve Goldberg
    Steven E Gordon
    Justine Halliday
    Kirk Hanson
    Kris Heller
    Benjamin Hendricks
    Cedric Hohnstadt
    Carole Holliday
    Darin Hollings
    Richard Hoppe
    Arica Houy
    llyn Hunter
    Lenora Hume
    Willy Hwang
    Carolyn Jao
    Jeremy Jones
    Jesse Jordan
    Glen Keane
    Lance Kirianoff
    Chrystal Klabunde
    Karen Krajenbrink
    Arnaud Kroener
    William Kroyer
    Stephanie Laberis
    Tara K Labus
    Dorse Lanpher
    Christopher Larson
    David Lee
    Sylvia Leduc
    Josh Lieberman
    Larry Lock
    Sirose Loyola
    Susan Maciorowski
    Rik Maki
    Sam Marin
    Christopher Martin
    Margaret Masetti
    Monica Mayall
    Michelle Meeker
    Mendi Menefee
    Marc Miller
    Matt Miller
    Thomas L. Minton
    Armen Mirzaian
    Jennifer Moeller
    Russell Mooney
    Cindy Morrow
    Constantine Z Nasr
    Debra Nethery
    Katalin Nivelt
    Floyd Norman
    Sophia Ohara
    Madlyn O’Neill
    Hyrum Osmond
    Craig P
    Chris Palmer
    Jeffrey Plamenig
    Jeff Pidgeon
    William Povey
    Mark Pudleiner
    William Reiss
    Bob Richardson
    Robin Richesson
    Kimberly Robello
    Bill Robinson
    Pres Romanillos
    Alex Ruiz
    Harry Sabin
    George Scribner
    Stephen Silver
    Robert Singer
    Jennifer Skarupa
    Aimee Steinberger
    Brian Stokes
    Ahnorrah-Rose Sutton
    Sean Szeles
    Matthew Taylor
    Philippe Tilikete
    Pragya Tomar
    John Turco
    Christophe Vacher
    Matt Wayne
    Stevie Wermers
    Rhett Wickham
    Wallace Williamson
    Suzanne Wilson
    David Wilson
    Anthony Wong
    Bruce Woodside
    Dean Yeagle
    Kenneth Young

    Organization Donors:
    Atomic Lounge Entertainment
    Better Mouse Trap
    Borino Consulting
    Cheeky entertainment
    Cypress Pictures, Inc.
    FX Review
    Moodoo Productions Inc / Drawing Power
    Red Window, Inc.
    The Bear Den Ltd.
    The Creative Talent Network
    Waffles Co.

  • The loss of Corny Cole is not only a personal tragedy, but a loss to all of us who strive for excellence, But who of us could ever hope to approach his level of animation art?