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Walter Lantz
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    (April 27, 1899-March 22, 1994)
    Born in New Rochelle, New York
    Birth name was Walter Lanza
    Animator for Universal Studios
    Known for the characters Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda and Chilly Willy
    He said of his appearances in several early shorts that combined animation and live action, 'I was a terrible actor. I had four expressions.'
    He got his first break, animating Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, by beating producer Carl Laemmle in a poker game.
    He continued using Mel Blanc's recording of Woody Woodpecker's distinctive laugh even after Blanc left his studio until Blanc sued him.
    He hired his wife Grace as the new voice of Woody Woodpecker.
    He was responsible for the first Technicolor cartoon, an animated prologue for the film 'The King of Jazz' (1930).
    He and Grace insisted that she got the voice job by submitting an anonymous tape.
    He entertained troops in Vietnam.
    He established a scholarship and prize for animators at the California Institute of the Arts.
    He received a special Academy Award for 'bringing joy and laughter to every part of the world through his unique animated pictures' (1979).

Credit: C. Fishel

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