Rudolf Cataldi

Feb. 3, 1927 – Jan. 4, 2019

It is with a heavy heart to announce the passing of another icon in the animation industry. Lead animator, producer and timing-director Rudy Cataldi died peacefully at the age of 91.

He was married to a wonderful wife and mother, Consuelo. He leaves her and their children, daughter Christina and sons Johny and Tommy; also their three grandchildren Zachary, Giustino and Dominico.

Rudy was born in Newark, New Jersey to Vincenzo and Ada Cataldi. In 1943, the family took a bus across the country, moving from Newark to Los Angeles. There, Rudy got a job in the “traffic” department as a runner at the Disney Studios where every morning he’d walk in with Walt Disney, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Walt liked Rudy so much that he asked him if he wanted to be an assistant animator. Rudy started at the young age of 16, training as an in-betweener under animator George Nicholas.

In 1945 Rudy joined the Marines, but before he could fight in the Korean War, he and his sergeant major were seriously injured in a stateside accident. As a result Rudy was released early from the military with an honorable discharge at the rank of corporal.

Rudy went on to start his own studio, Animation Associates in Hollywood, California, where he animated many commercials for television that included Flair Pen, Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo, Mr. Clean and the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

There he and his longtime friend Lou Zukor created and produced Q.T. Hush for television, which aired on Sheriff John’s Lunch Brigade in 1960.

Rudy’s charisma and talent allowed him to quickly grow as a top rated animator. He worked with and knew many wonderful people in the industry such as Walt Disney, Grim Natwick, Chuck Jones, Stan Lee, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Ralph Huelet, Jerry Hathcock and many others.

Rudy worked through an era when the best hand drawn cartoons ever were produced. His list is long and includes such classics as “Three Caballeros,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella,” “The Flintstones,” “The Smurfs,” “Jonny Quest,” “Top Cat,” “Scooby Doo,” “Yogi Bear,” “He-Man,” “Josie and the Pussycats,” “The Muppet Babies” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” to name a few.

He finally retired after 58 years of doing what he loved best. Through his retirement he kept busy replying to fans from around the world, returning his bio, photos and autographed drawings. He was truly surprised by the attention.

Rudy will surely be missed. To learn more about this talented man, visit his website and enjoy yourself!

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