The Los Angeles animation industry is mourning the sudden death of Chris Reccardi. The artist, who was 54 years old, suffered a heart attack in Ventura, California, while he was surfing.
He was a leading character designer, storyboard artist, writer, and visual development artist in the industry. Born in New York City and a graduate of Sayville High School in Long Island, Reccardi entered the animation industry in the late 1980s. He described his path into animation in a 2008 interview with Hi-Fructose magazine:
I came to L.A. because I was hoping that my sister’s husband (Disney animator Chuck Harvey) could help me get into the business. I was never an animation geek (outside of early Fleischer Popeye, which were just cool to watch stoned) and didn’t go to art school, so even with Chuck’s leads, I couldn’t get hired anywhere. But I persisted, because anything is better than a $4.50 an hour stock room or warehouse job. My first real in-house animation job was when John Kricfalusi, who was producing The New Beany and Cecil show at D.I.C. decided to give me a chance as a layout artist. My drawings were pretty lousy, but they needed new people badly. Roger Rabbit came out that summer and a sort of renaissance in the animation biz happened after that. Mostly because some execs figured that you can make real money off of the shit.
Since those humble beginnings, Reccardi has had a hand in some of the most popular animated series and feature films of the last thirty years. A small sampling of his credits: Tiny Toon Adventures (storyboard), Ren and Stimpy (layout/writer), Powerpuff Girls (writer), Dexter’s Laboratory (writer), Samurai Jack (writer), The Simpsons (layout), The Regular Show (supervising producer), Secret Mountain Fort Awesome (supervising producer), Spongebob Squarepants (storyboard director), The Mighty B! (storyboard), Tron: Uprising (storyboard), Mickey Mouse Shorts (location design), Wander Over Yonder (character design), Shrek 3 (storyboard), Hotel Transylvania 3 (visual development), The Lego Movie (concept artist/designer), and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (visual development).