Gerry Woolery, Emmy-Winning Animator on Jim Carrey's 'The Duck Factory,' Dies at 73

Courtesy of Bob Condor
Gerry Woolery

He also ran Playhouse Pictures — founded by his father — and worked on films including 'Mannequin' and 'Loverboy.'

Gerry Woolery, an animator and graphic designer who received an Emmy Award for his work on the Allan Burns comedy The Duck Factory, starring Jim Carrey in his first series gig, has died. He was 73.

Woolery died May 10 at his home in Coupeville, Washington, after a long battle with cancer, his friend Bob Condor told The Hollywood Reporter.

Woolery won his Emmy for outstanding achievement for graphic design and title sequences for NBC's The Duck Factory, which lasted just 13 episodes in 1984. Created by Burns (The Mary Tyler Moore ShowMy Mother the Car) and Herbert Klynn for MTM Enterprises, the series starred Carrey as Skip Tarkenton, a naive young cartoonist who comes to Hollywood and lands a job at an animation company modeled on Woolery's real-life animation studio, Playhouse Pictures.

Woolery's father, Adrian, had founded the studio in 1952 and was the first multiplane camera operator at the Walt Disney Co. Playhouse was known for its animated TV commercials for Hanna-Barbera and Disney; one, for the Cocoa Pebbles breakfast cereal, featured the daughter of Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

Gerry Woolery also collaborated with renowned movie titleists Saul Bass (North by Northwest) and Sally Cruikshank. The latter commissioned Woolery and his team to develop and create the animated opening sequence for the Bette Midler-Danny DeVito comedy Ruthless People (1986), for which Mick Jagger sang the title song. 

Woolery also worked with Cruikshank on Mannequin (1987) and Loverboy (1989).

Born in Hollywood, Woolery attended Hamilton High in Los Angeles and earned a film degree at Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts). When he wasn't working on TV shows, films, cartoons and commercials, Condor said, Woolery would race his Alfa Romeo sports car at local tracks or perfect recipes as a cook and baker.

Woolery and his wife of 25 years, Angele, relocated to Whidbey Island north of Seattle in 2000, and he ran his own restaurant, Gerry's Kitchen, from 2004-14.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his brother Ted, daughter Selina, grandson Duncan and first wife Kathleen.