Gene Deitch, an award-winning animator, director and producer, has died at age 95. He died in his Prague apartment Thursday, his publisher, Petr Himmel, confirmed to the Czech News Agency. No further details were given.
Born in Chicago on Aug. 8, 1924, Deitch met his Czech wife and fellow animator Zdenka Najmanova during a visit to Prague in 1959. He’d only planned to stay there for 10 days, but after falling in love he decided to relocate.
They got married in 1964, only after they divorced their spouses, as he wrote in his memoirs, “For the Love or Prague,” published in 2018.
Nominated for three Academy Awards during his nearly six-decade-long career, Deitch won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1964 for “Munro.” The nine-minute-comedy about a 4-year-old who’s drafted into the army became the first short created outside the U.S. to win the award.