Animation veteran Phil Robinson, one of the founders of the former San Francisco studio Wild Brain, passed away yesterday, after losing a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. The Welsh native attended Southampton College of Art in England. He was a forty-year industry veteran, who began his career animating on features like The Twelve Tasks of Asterix (1976), Heavy Metal (1981) and Plague Dogs (1982).
In the late-1980s, Robinson was recruited by Bill Hanna to start up and manage Hanna-Barbera’s new overseas studio, Fil-Cartoons, in Manila, Philippines. Upon returning to San Francisco, he worked as an animation director at Colossal Pictures from 1991-1995, where he directed commercials for clients including Cap’n Crunch, Apple and Cinnamon Cheerios, and Carl’s Jr. He also animated at ILM on the early live-action/CG hybrid Casper (1995).
In 1994 he formed Wild Brain with partners John Hays and Jeff Fino. At Wild Brain, Robinson directed the direct-to-video feature FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue, the drawn animation sequences in the 2000 feature The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and the 17-minute CG short Hubert’s Brain. An edited version of the latter short can be viewed below: