Something was missing from you not being at this years Comic Con and your passing will forever leave a hole in my San Diego Comic Con experience. You shall be missed.
What a terrible shame! You were a brilliant writer who helped revitalize the classic Hanna-Barbera characters in the 1980s and a key force behind ANIMANIACS, which revived Warner Brothers animation. Say hi to Bill, Joe, Hoyt, Daws, Don and all the other departed members of the club.
Sad news about a great guy. I was a bit player in Earl’s first film, "Out Of The Frying Pan," a high school project shot in Bucks County PA circa 1967. Fun times. Rest in peace old friend.
Very Sad. I developed a bit of an acquaintance with Mr. Kress after working with he and Mark Evanier on a project a few years ago. Always pleasant and friendly to me and loved to hear him talk cartoons on STU’S SHOW. R.I.P.
Earl was very active in Local 839, the Animation Guild. Its Business Agent Steve Hulett posted the sad news on the Guild’s blog along with the following personal thoughts…
Earl Kress was the guy I knew longest in the animation business.
When I started at Disney, he was already on staff, working on “The Fox and the Hound.” For the first year I was there, his office was next to mine on the third floor of the old animation building. I was in a space the size of a broom closet. Since Earl was the senior guy, he occupied the office with the square footage of one-and-a-half broom closets.
Years later, Mr. Kress and I were both freelancing for Warner Bros. Animation at the same time when the studio was launching "Tiny Toon Adventures." Shortly thereafter, I abandoned the writing game and became Business Representative for Local 839, but Earl stuck with his first love of creating animated cartoons. It wasn’t long before he was on the WBA staff full-time, writing "Pinky and the Brain" and winning Emmys.
And it wasn’t long after that Earl became a board member of The Animation Guild, and then Vice-President. He was on the TAG negotiating committee every time negotiations rolled around, adding his passion and expertise. (As noted above, the fact that animation writers under TAG can write two half-hour shows and qualify for health benefits AND a qualified pension year is largely due to Mr. Kress, who pushed for improvements in writers’ benefits and wages tenaciously and energetically.)
Earl kept writing almost to the very end of his life. His devoted wife Denise told me that even after he fell ill, he was still in the game, waiting to hear back from producers on an outline he’d completed. He left us way too soon, but the fact that he continued as a professional writer from his entry into the business in 1975 to 2011 is cause for celebration. Very few talents stay employed for thirty-five years in a field they love, particularly when the field is the movie business. But Earl made it happen.
Wherever you are now, Mr. Kress, I expect you’re doing funny voices for the other angels, and writing funny dialogue. And telling the winged denizens about the history of the cartoon business that you had such a hand in shaping.
Earl Kress was one of the first professionals I met in animation, and few writers were as knowledgeable about cartoons or created them as well as he did. I had the pleasure of working with Earl on a number of occasions, and more than that, I had the pleasure of knowing him personally. The photo here shows Earl and a number of our best friends at an evening last year with the great Frank Ferrante. It was a wonderful night. Earl, Misty and I drove to the show together and on the way Earl told many stories about our early days at Filmation, our later years at Warners and just about everything else. I’ll miss his encyclopedic knowledge of Hanna-Barbera cartoons, his wild sense of humor, and of course, the man himself. Rest well, Earl.
Another animation titan leaves us far too early. Thanks for all the joy you left us on this side. Peace.
I’ll miss you, pal. Had a great time working with you and just hanging around with you.