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October 19, 1928
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US
|Died||October 17, 2013 (aged 84)|
Tarzana, California, US
|Other names||Erik Gunden, Erika Lane|
|Occupation||Animator and voice actor|
Louis "Lou" Scheimer (October 19, 1928 – October 17, 2013) was an American producer, one of the original founders of Filmation, an animation company, and also credited as an executive producer of many of its cartoons.
Early life and education
Scheimer (SHY-mer) was the son of a German-Jew who, according to family legend, had to leave Germany in the early 1920s after punching a young Adolf Hitler in 1921 or 1922, "well before" the Beer Hall Putsch.
Early in Filmation's history, Scheimer also contributed a number of guest or secondary voices for the various productions. Amongst these was the voice of N'kima, Tarzan's monkey companion in Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1976–81).
Scheimer played a significant role in the creation of the cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and Bravestarr. Aside from being the executive producer, he was also co-credited for the series' musical score under the pseudonym "Erika Lane" (which combined the names of his daughter Erika and son Lane), and it had also been used as a character name on the 1967 Filmation series Fantastic Voyage. He became a voice actor for the show (as he had done for many of his company's previous productions), going under the pseudonym "Erik Gunden". The last name was taken from his father's original surname: "Gundenscheimer" (which was later shortened to Sheimer). The first name was Lou's middle name, which he was not given by his parents, but instead by his wife Jay, who felt that he should have one. Scheimer's contribution to the cast was in fact most notable as he voiced several supporting characters, including Orko (and other characters with a similar Smurfs-voice), Stratos, King Randor and others.
The reason producer Lou Scheimer performed the voices for so many supporting characters was that the 'official' voice actors were contracted to perform no more than three different voices per episode. And since there were usually only three regular cast members working on each show, Lou would fill in the rest of the male cast. This is also why his wife Jay and daughter Erika did various small parts in the first season of He-Man. During the second season of He-Man, and all of She-Ra, Erika Scheimer received an onscreen credit as an actor and also directed the voice actors, and she and her father would record the remaining voices on their own later, because Lou did not see himself as a 'proper' actor and was ashamed of recording together with the other voice actors due to severe budget restrictions.
The animated series also pioneered a type of programming known as first-run syndication. Also a first was the storyline being based on an action figure toy; prior to this time, FCC regulations had prohibited any type of children's programming being based on a toy. Scheimer transformed He-Man from a graphically violent version of Conan the Barbarian into a pro-social character, who imparted a life lesson to impressionable viewers in each episode.
Scheimer's daughter Erika also performed supporting female voices and occasional voice-acting for young boy characters. She would later star in the follow-up series She-Ra, which Scheimer also produced. Lou was also credited for helping to compose the theme music for both the He-Man and She-Ra series, under his pseudonym 'Erika Lane'.
In the late 1990s, Scheimer returned to the field of animation. A Dutch investment company, Dreamweavers, NV., approached Lou with a concept based on an off-kilter Dutchman's renderings of characters aimed at young adults. Scheimer went into production on Robin and the Dreamweavers, an animated feature film. Robin, the first human ever born in cyberspace, battled the evil siren Triple XXX who desired an earthly body and gained power through mankind's baser carnal desires. The film, however, was never distributed. Also, this animated movie is an adult animated movie like any Ralph Bakshi movie.
Scheimer also provided consultation work for Gang of Seven (G7) Animation.
The Lou Scheimer Gallery at the ToonSeum, a museum of comic and cartoon art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is named in his honor.
Scheimer voiced characters for other Filmation cartoons besides He-Man. Most notably, he provided the voice to "Dumb Donald" on the long-running Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. He was also the voice of Legal Eagle and the Brown Hornet's sidekick Stinger. He likewise served as the voice-over narrator during the opening credits of the majority of Filmation shows and cartoons. In Jason of Star Command and Space Academy, he was consistently heard as generic voices over intercoms. In the live-action series The Ghost Busters, which starred Forrest Tucker alongside Larry Storch with Bob Burns, his was the voice of "Zero", the unseen boss of the main characters. Scheimer also provided the voices of Bat-Mite, the Bat-Computer and Clayface (First Appearance) on The New Adventures of Batman, a Filmation cartoon in 1977. Scheimer also provided the voice of Tracy, the Gorilla in the 1986 TV series, Ghostbusters.
He was married to Jay Scheimer until her death in 2009, they had one daughter, Erika, and one son, Lane.
Scheimer underwent quadruple bypass surgery in the late 1990s and was subsequently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He died from the disease at his home in Tarzana, California on October 17, 2013, two days shy of his 85th birthday.
- "R.I.P. Animation Legend Lou Scheimer". ScienceFiction.com. October 18, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
- Book Review - 'Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation', by Fred Patten, at Animation World Network; published December 19, 2012; retrieved May 13, 2016
- "Cartoon Studio Founder Lou Scheimer Dies". Time.com. October 21, 2013. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- "He-Man cartoon producer Lou Scheimer dies aged 84". BBC News. October 22, 2013.
- "Remembering She-Ra and He-Man: Interview with Lou Scheimer". AWN.com. Animation World Network. 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- Colker, David (October 20, 2013). "Lou Scheimer obituary: Filmation founder Lou Scheimer dies". LATimes.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
- Guide To Animated Star Trek - Filmation Associates
- Animated Views - A Fond Look Back At Filmation (Part 1) (October 31, 2004)
- Animated Views - A Fond Look Back At Filmation (Part 2) (December 10, 2006)
- LouScheimerProductions.com - My Dad: The Trend Setter at the Wayback Machine (archived March 22, 2004)