José Luis Moro Escalona, who ran one of Spain’s leading commercial animation studios and created the iconic Familia Telerín, died yesterday in Madrid at the age of 88. Although he had suffered from Alzheimer’s, the cause of death was natural.
In 1955, Moro launched Estudios Moro in Madrid with his brother Santiago. The company, which lasted until 1970, dominated Spanish commercial production and popularized the Cartoon Modern style in that country. “Jose Luis and his brother Santiago Moro were the Spanish Walt and Roy Disney,” director and former Disney animator Raul Garcia told Cartoon Brew. “They invented modern advertising in Spain, and inspired a whole generation of animation artists.” The studio won hundreds of advertising awards and eventually opened satellites in Barcelona, Lisbon, and the United States.
Moro’s work received a new wave of critical attention in the late-2000s when he was recognized for his contributions in shaping 20th century Spanish popular culture. In 2008, the Valencia Museum of Illustration and Modernity presented the first major exhibit dedicated to his company, “Estudios Moro: The Beginnings of the Commercial,” which examined how his studio introduced a modern and fun sensibility to the Spanish public at a time when the country was under a dictatorship and the public yearned for more freedom.