Maureen Furniss has just informed us of the bad news:
I write to you with sadness but a sense of peace. Bill Moritz, a great friend to many and a stellar figure within the field of animation studies, died early this morning (Friday, March 12) at the home of his sister in Northern California.
He had suffered with throat cancer for many years, then developed another form of cancer in his chest in recent months. Within the next few days, I will send details of his memorial service, which will take place in the Los Angeles area in the near future.
Bill was known for his work on German animation, particularly the work of Oskar Fischinger. His book on Fischinger, his life’s work, recently was published by John Libbey.
Allegretto (1936) Bill was instrumental in restoring and documenting this important artist’s films, which otherwise probably would not have been preserved for future generations. He traveled to many film festivals, presenting the work of visual music artists, and wrote extensively on experimental animation. He was a member of the Animation Journal editorial board, publishing an article in its first issue and publishing again in future issues.
He also was past president of the Society for Animation Studies. Bill was on the faculty at California Institute of the Arts, where he had been for many years, and was a mentor to many. Bill was also an artist, working in film and theater, among other realms. He spoke numerous languages and leaves behind friends around the world. He also leaves a beloved family of cats that comforted him during his illness.
Animation World Network will be publishing a tribute dedicated to Bill within a few days, so please be sure to look for it.