Academy of Achievement Logo
Achiever Gallery
   + [ The Arts ]
  Public Service
  Science & Exploration
  My Role Model
  Recommended Books
  Academy Careers
Keys to Success
Achievement Podcasts
About the Academy
For Teachers

Search the site

Academy Careers


If you like Chuck Jones's story, you might also like:
Michael Eisner,
George Lucas,
James Rosenquist,
Fritz Scholder,
Julie Taymor,
Wayne Thiebaud
and Robert Zemeckis

Chuck Jones's recommended reading: Roughing It

Chuck Jones also appears in the video:
Passion, Creativity and the Arts: Writing for Motion Pictures

Related Links:
Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones Center
Looney Tunes

Share This Page
  (Maximum 150 characters, 150 left)

Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
Profile of Chuck Jones Biography of Chuck Jones Interview with Chuck Jones Chuck Jones Photo Gallery

Chuck Jones Biography

Animation Pioneer

Chuck Jones Date of birth: September 21, 1912
Date of death: February 22, 2002

Print Chuck Jones Biography Print Biography

  Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones was born in Spokane, Washington. He moved, with his family to Southern California when he was only six months old. The family moved often, living at various times in Hollywood and Newport Beach. In Hollywood, the young boy was able to observe the still-young film industry. He remembers peering over the studio fence to watch Charlie Chaplin at work on his silent comedies.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones encouraged the artistic leanings of their children, all of whom grew up to be professional artists. At age 15, Chuck dropped out of high school, at his father's suggestion, to attend Chouinard Art Institute (now known as California Institute of the Arts).

Chuck Jones Biography Photo
Emerging from school in the depths of the Depression, the young artist found work in the fledgling animation industry, working in succession with Ub Iwerks (Walt Disney's original partner), Charles Mintz and Walter Lantz (creator of Woody Woodpecker). He advanced from washing cels to in-betweening, finally landing a job at Leon Schlesinger Productions, the supplier of cartoons to Warner Bothers. Chuck Jones was to continue this association for the next 30 years. In this company he worked for the great animation directors Friz Freleng, Frank Tashlin and Tex Avery, men he credits with teaching him the comic timing, vivid characterization and jubilant anarchy for which Warner Bothers cartoons were famous. He advanced to animator, working on Bugs Bunny and some of the earliest Daffy Duck cartoons. At last, he was promoted to animation director. His trademarks include highly stylized backgrounds and a slew of hilarious characters. His own creations include Pepé LePew and, most famously, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.

The first Road Runner cartoon was conceived as a parody of the mindless chase cartoons popular at the time, but audiences around the world embraced the series. In the 1940s and '50s he directed some of the most durable and hilarious animated shorts, including What's Opera, Doc? and Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century. In 1950, two cartoons produced by Chuck Jones's unit won Academy Awards, "For Scent-imental Reasons" (with Pepé LePew) and an animated short ("So Much for So Little"), which won in the documentary category, the only cartoon film ever to do so.

Chuck Jones Biography Photo
In the 1960s, Jones produced Tom 'n' Jerry cartoons for MGM, and The Pogo Family Birthday Special for television. In 1962, in the waning days of the theatrical cartoon business, Jones loosened his ties to Warner Brothers and wrote an original screenplay for a UPA animated feature Gay Purr-ee, which featured the voices of Judy Garland, Robert Goulet and other stars of the day. Jones collaborated with Theodore Geisel (a.k.a. "Dr. Seuss") on a pair of cartoon specials for television, Horton Hears a Who and The Grinch Stole Christmas. The latter has become a holiday classic. Both won Peabody Awards for Television Programming Excellence. Chuck Jones won another Academy Award in 1965 for the animated short, The Dot and the Line, based on a book by Norton Juster. He also produced, co-wrote and co-directed a feature film based on Juster's children's classic The Phantom Tollbooth.

Under the banner of his own production company, Chuck Jones Enterprises, he produced, wrote and directed nine half-hour prime time television specials: The Cricket in Times Square, A Very Merry Cricket, Yankee Doodle Cricket, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Mowgli's Brothers, The White Seal, Carnival of the Animals, A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court, The Great Santa Claus Caper and The Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile.

His books include his autobiography, Chuck Amuck; a children's book William, the Backwards Skunk; and How to Draw from the Fun Side of Your Brain.

This page last revised on Feb 02, 2005 11:22 EDT
How To Cite This Page