Peter Anthony “Tony” Eastman was born in 1942 into an animation family. His father Phil “P.D.” Eastman was a story artist who worked at Disney and UPA before finding fame as a children’s author and illustrator. Tony’s mother Mary Lou Whitham was a color model supervisor at Disney, where she met Phil before the pair left during the strike of 1941.
As a child, Tony Eastman showed a precocious talent for drawing. In a blog post, the cartoonist Kim Deitch (son of animation filmmaker Gene Deitch, who worked with P.D. Eastman) recalls a 14-year-old Tony showing him hundreds of flipbooks he had drawn. “Really,” Deitch adds, “he had already outgrown flipbooks and had started doing animation on regulation animation paper.”
Home Savings Bank spot directed and designed by J.J. Sedelmaier and animated by Tony Eastman at J.J. Sedelmaier Productions.
In a comment on the same blog post, Eastman elaborated on his artistic development: “I wanted to shoot my flip books onto film … but instead, my dad suggested that I do new 12-field-size artwork to shoot (he probably figured it would lead me into thinking more long form about story, which it did). This led to the purchase of a 16 mm, 50-foot magazine load Bell & Howell camera.”
In a tribute to his late friend posted publicly on Facebook, J.J. Sedelmaier wrote: “He could work in ANY style of design and animation. People in the studio clamored to work on his stuff. He was FAST! He was thorough. He was a joy …”
Later in life, Eastman followed his father into children’s books. As “Peter Eastman,” he wrote and illustrated a trio of books featuring Fred and Ted, the canine stars of P.D. Eastman’s classic book Big Dog…Little Dog. He also contributed illustrations to the reissues of several of his father’s works.
This obituary will be updated with additional details as they become available.
Spots designed by Gary Baseman and animated by Tony Eastman at The Ink Tank.