Hal Geer, Warner Bros. Animation Legend, Dies at 100

Courtesy of Geer Family
Hal Geer

He spent four decades in the business after excelling as a combat cameraman during World War II.

Hal Geer, a film editor, writer, director and producer for animation at Warner Bros. and Disney, has died. He was 100.

A World War II combat cameraman who survived 86 missions flying over China, Geer died Jan. 26 in Simi Valley, Calif., his family announced.

Geer worked on 25 feature films (including 1953's Peter Pan), more than 500 television shows, 400 commercials and 100 short-subject films.

In 1946 after the war, Geer landed a job as a color technician in the special-effects department at Warner Bros. Four years later, he moved to Disney, where he worked under famed Steamboat Willie animator Ub Iwerks and contributed to the TV show Walt Disney's Disneyland. After stints with several independent companies, he returned to Warners in 1967.

In 1981, Geer and Friz Freleng shared an Emmy nomination for outstanding animated program for producing Bugs Bunny: All American Hero, and in 1985, he spearheaded a successful campaign to give Bugs a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A year later, he retired as vp and executive producer of Warner Bros. Cartoons.

Harold Eugene Geer was born on Sept. 13, 1916, in Oronogo, Mo. He married Nancy Walker in 1939 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941, two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In his combat missions, Geer sometimes doubled as a gunner on B-24 and B-25 planes while shooting images for newsreels.

At age 99, Geer published his memoir, The Life, Times and Tales of Hal Geer, in which he wrote: "I don't know what the purpose of life is. We try to do the best we can while we exist. My purpose was to make the world a better place. I know I made some people happy. I want to be remembered for the things I've done: combat photographer, newsreels and historical films. I hope I also entertained people and brought some laughter into their lives."

Survivors include his wife Carol, whom he married in 1983 after his first wife died; children Nancy and Wally; stepdaughter Brenda Lee; grandchildren Christo and Jamie; and great-grandchildren Matthew, Savannah, Whitney and Sylvia.

A memorial service is set for 10 a.m. on Feb. 11 at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, Calif. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Simi-Conejo Valley Chapter of the Military Association of America.

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