Grim Natwick

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Grim Natwick
Born Myron Natwick
(1890-08-16)August 16, 1890
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, United States
Died October 7, 1990(1990-10-07) (aged 100)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Animator

Myron "Grim" Natwick (August 16, 1890 – October 7, 1990) was an American artist, animator and film director. Natwick is best known for drawing the Fleischer Studio's most popular character, Betty Boop.[1]

Background[edit]

Born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, Natwick studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and had five brothers and two sisters. Natwick's parents, James and Henrietta (Lyon) owned a furniture store. His grandfather, Ole, was one of the earliest Norwegian immigrants to the United States arriving in Wisconsin in 1847 (Ole was born on April 8, 1826, to Ole Torkjellson Natvig and Anna at Sagi Natvig, Ardal, Sogn, Norway). He had eleven children in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin (now part of Wisconsin Rapids), including James W., Grim's father, and Joseph, who was the father of Mildred Natwick, Grim's first cousin.

Natwick had his nickname since before high school as a takeoff on his "anything but Grim" personality. He was well known even in high school for his artwork and his poetry. Although never published, many pages of his poetry are available (much will be on display at the South Wood County historical Museum in the summer of 2011 where there is a permanent exhibit of Natwick's works[www.swch-museum.com]). His brother Frank was reputedly one of the first Wisconsin athletes to be invited to the Olympics in 1908. He was a high hurdler for the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he was president of his class.[2]

Career[edit]

Natwick's artistic career started with cover designs for sheet music, initially for a friend who worked at a music publishing company. Natwick found that he was good at this type of work and contacted other publishers in Chicago, eventually illustrating the covers for many song sheets, usually in no more than two colours. Natwick is best known for drawing the Fleischer Studio's most popular character, Betty Boop, under the direction of Max Fleischer. Although legal ownership of the Betty Boop character remained with the studio (as Natwick was an employee), Grim created the original design of Betty Boop at the request of studio head Max Fleischer, who requested a girlfriend for his successful creation "Bimbo". Natwick worked for a number of American animation studios, including the Ub Iwerks studio, Walt Disney Productions, the Walter Lantz studio, UPA, and the Richard Williams studio. At Disney, Natwick was a lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and was instrumental in bringing the titular heroine to life.

While working for the Fleischer studios in 1939, Natwick was in charge of drawing the Prince and the Princess for Gulliver's Travels. He also helped to animate Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, Mr. Magoo, Popeye, Felix the Cat and many other 40s and 50s cartoon greats. Three of Grim's former assistants included Walter Lantz (Hearst), Chuck Jones (Iwerks) and Marc Davis (Disney).[3]

There is evidence Natwick did some commercial work later in his long life. He appears to have contributed to the early images of Sonny & Gramps, according to then-contemporaries who collaborated with Natwick during his 100-year career. Sonny is the "cuckoo" animated mascot of General Mills' Cocoa Puffs. [1]

Natwick died on October 7, 1990 in Los Angeles, California of both pneumonia and a heart attack, just weeks after having a 100th birthday party with friends such as Shamus Culhane.[4][5]

In 2010, the Wisconsin Historical Society erected a memorial plaque to Grim Natwick in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. South Wood County Historical Museum in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin is home to an extensive Grim Natwick exhibit.[6]

Since 2010, the Grim Natwick Film Festival has been held annually over three days in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin featuring animators from across the state and beyond in panels and screenings of work.

Partial filmography (as animator)[edit]

As animators were often uncredited, many of the films featured below do not credit Natwick as animator. Similarly there may be other films on which he worked which have not yet been attributed to him.

  • 1993 The Thief and the Cobbler
  • 1977 Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure
  • 1963 The Mighty Hercules (TV series) (directing animator - 3 episodes; Double Trouble, Guarding of the Olympic Torch, & Medusa's Sceptre)
  • 1960 Felix the Cat (TV series)
  • 1959 "Terror Faces Magoo" (short)
  • 1954 "Spare the Child" (short)
  • 1951 "Georgie and the Dragon" (short)
  • 1951 "Rooty Toot Toot" (short)
  • 1950 "Bungled Bungalow" (short)
  • 1950 "The Popcorn Story" (short)
  • 1950 "Trouble Indemnity" (short)
  • 1947 "The Bandmaster" (short)
  • 1947 "Solid Ivory" (short)
  • 1947 "Well Oiled" (short)
  • 1947 "The Coo Coo Bird" (short)
  • 1947 "Smoked Hams" (short)
  • 1946 "The Wacky Weed" (short)
  • 1946 "Fair Weather Fiends" (short)
  • 1946 "The Reckless Driver" (short)
  • 1946 "Bathing Buddies" (short)
  • 1946 "Who's Cookin' Who?" (short)
  • 1945 "The Dippy Diplomat" (short)
  • 1945 "Chew-Chew Baby" (short)
  • 1945 "Pied Piper of Basin Street" (short)
  • 1945 "Enemy Bacteria" (short)
  • 1944 "Ski for Two" (short)
  • 1944 "Abou Ben Boogie" (short)
  • 1943 "Take Heed Mr. Tojo" (short)
  • 1940 "Popeye Presents Eugene, the Jeep" (short)
  • 1940 "The Fulla Bluff Man" (short)
  • 1939 Gulliver's Travels (animation director)
  • 1938 "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood" (short)
  • 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • 1936 "Little Boy Blue" (short)
  • 1936 "Alpine Climbers" (short)
  • 1936 "Dick Whittington's Cat" (short)
  • 1936 "Ali Baba" (short)
  • 1936 "Mickey's Polo Team" (short)
  • 1935 "Broken Toys" (short)
  • 1935 "Simple Simon" (short)
  • 1935 "The Three Bears" (short)
  • 1935 "Mickey's Fire Brigade" (short)
  • 1935 "Sinbad the Sailor" (short)
  • 1935 "Summertime" (short)
  • 1935 "The Cookie Carnival" (short)
  • 1935 "Old Mother Hubbard" (short)
  • 1934 "The King's Tailor" (short)
  • 1934 "Viva Willie" (short)
  • 1934 "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp" (short)
  • 1934 "Jungle Jitters" (short)
  • 1934 "Cave Man" (short)
  • 1934 "Reducing Creme" (short)
  • 1934 "Insultin' the Sultan" (short)
  • 1934 "Robin Hood, Jr." (short)
  • 1933 "Jack and the Beanstalk" (short)
  • 1933 "Soda Squirt" (short)
  • 1932 "The Music Lesson"(short)
  • 1932 "Phoney Express" (short)
  • 1932 "The Goal Rush" (short)
  • 1932 "Stormy Seas" (short)
  • 1932 "Room Runners" (short)
  • 1932 "The Office Boy" (short)
  • 1932 "The Milkman" (short)
  • 1931 "Africa Squeaks" (short)
  • 1931 "Jail Birds" (short)
  • 1931 "The New Car" (short)
  • 1931 "Bimbo's Initiation" (short)
  • 1931 "Tree Saps" (short)
  • 1931 "Teacher's Pest" (short)
  • 1931 "Please Go 'Way and Let Me Sleep" (short)
  • 1930 "Mysterious Mose" (short)
  • 1930 "Accordion Joe" (short)
  • 1930 "Mariutch" (short)
  • 1930 "Swing You Sinners!" (short)
  • 1930 "Dizzy Dishes" (short)
  • 1930 "Wise Flies" (short)
  • 1930 "Fire Bugs" (short)

References[edit]

External links[edit]