May 30, 1935|
Los Angeles County, California
|Died||August 25, 1998
Woodland Hills, California
Starting at Warner Bros. in the 1960s, and then at DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, he also worked as a production manager in the 1970s. After DePatie-Freleng was sold to Marvel Comics Group in 1981, Gunther became one of the founders of Marvel Productions, Ltd., where he served as executive vice president and executive producer on television series such as Spider-Man, G.I. Joe and The Transformers, as well as the feature-length animation Inhumanoids: The Movie. He also served as vice president of foreign production at Fox Kids.
In late-1987, he co-founded Gunther-Wahl Productions with Michael Wahl. With Wahl, their first task was taking over production of Alvin and the Chipmunks from Ruby Spears Productions in 1988 including the Go To the Movies series including the failed Beany and Cecil television revival by John K. (Spumco) and then doing series such as COPS, Noozles (both 1988), Mummies Alive (1989), and Ronin Warriors (1990) and then serving as executive producer of the animated series Angry Beavers, a Gunther-Wahl production for Universal Animation Studios on CBS in 1991-1995 (Later reran on Nickelodeon in 1997-2001 & on Nicktoons Network Afterwards) and Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa for Greengrass Productions on ABC in 1992. He and Wahl also created The Adventures of T-Rex in 1992-1993 shortly after the Mattel Flutter Faeries lawsuit in which his partner Wahl and his wife were involved, In his lifetime, Gunther earned four Emmy awards, two Humanitas Prizes, two Golden Reel Awards and 12 Clio awards.
Other productions by Gunther-Wahl included doing the animated adaptation of Karate Kid for Coca-Cola Telecommunications (Now Sony Pictures Television) on NBC in 1989, and also doing the short-lived GI-Joe animated series from 1990-1992 (the preceding Operation Dragonfire five part mini-series was produced by Nelvana), as well as G.I. Joe Extreme (with Sunbow Productions & Graz Entertainment in 1995-1997) and also the cartoon Red Planet in 1994 and then taking over production of Camp Candy from Hanna-Barbera Productions (responsible for the first two seasons on NBC on Saturday Morning) and doing the third season of the program with Greengrass Productions for Worldvision Enterprises syndication in 1992, that same year they had also made Yvon of The Yukon and D'Myna Leagues for Bohbot Entertainment's BKN Syndication block along with Vancover-based-Studio-B-Productions (Also on Later Episodes-of-The-Angry-Beavers)
Gunther died of a stroke in August 25, 1998 at age 63. Long-time friend and colleague George Conte, who worked for Murakami Wolf Swenson Films and Fred Wolf Films and who first met Gunther at DePatie-Freleng said, "Lee's dedication to quality filmmaking, both technically and creatively placed him at the top of his profession. Because of his strong character and gentle ways, he was respected and loved by all who knew him. He will be missed."