Dan McLaughlin, Annie Award Winner, Dies at 83

Dan McLaughlin Chuck Sheetz - Getty - H 2016
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Dan McLaughlin Chuck Sheetz - Getty - H 2016

He headed the Animation Workshop at UCLA from 1970 until his retirement in 2007. One of his films played on 'The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.'

Dan McLaughlin, who headed the animation program at UCLA for nearly four decades, died in his sleep on March 15 in West Hills, Calif., the school announced. He was 83.

At the 1995 Annie Awards, McLaughlin received the Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement in animation; past recipients included Walt Disney, Chuck Jones, Max Fleischer, Walter Lantz and Tex Avery.

McLaughlin's student film at UCLA, God Is Dog Spelled Backwards (1967), featured 3,000 years of art in three minutes and was set to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The Smothers Brothers used the film on their CBS variety show in July 1968, accompanied by the instrumental piece "Classical Gas," penned by staff writer Mason Williams.

McLaughlin's Claude (1963) was honored at the Chicago International Film Festival, and he also did animation for Sesame Street, several feature films and the 1988 Amnesty International Human Rights Now world tour, the school noted.

McLaughlin graduated from the UCLA Theater Arts Department (now the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television) in 1958. He took over the school's Animation Workshop from Dumbo animator Bill Shull, who founded it in 1948, and led things from 1970 until his retirement in 2007.

McLaughlin founded the school’s M.F.A. Animation Program in 1971.