See that photo above? It’s not Ed Benedict. I repeat, It’s NOT Ed Benedict. It’s veteran East Coast animator/board artist Don Duga, who worked on a number of the Rankin/Bass projects, among many other things. He’s alive and well so why is everybody using this photo in their posts about Ed Benedict’s passing? Perhaps Don Duga has become the new official symbol to represent an animation artist’s death? It’s not as if Duga and Benedict look anything alike, yet I’ve seen a number of sites using this particular photo of Duga. Two of the more notables are ASIFA-Hollywood’s Animation Archive and this Brazilian newspaper.
I was really curious why everybody is using Duga’s image so I did a bit of searching around and it turns out that when you type in “Ed Benedict” into Google Images, this photo of Duga comes up with the caption “Legendary Animator Ed Benedict.” If you go to the actual website where the photo is hosted, it’s very clearly labelled Don Duga, but if you simply take the photo from Google Images without looking at the actual page, you’ll end up wrongly believing that it’s Benedict. An important lesson that we can all here is that letting Google Images do your homework for you will get you busted every time. And plus, you’ll confuse poor Don Duga and make him think he’s dead. For the record, here’s what the older Ed Benedict looked like: