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Ron Campbell

America “Toons” In by Ron Campbell

Ron Campbell

1939 – 2021

Ron Campbell photo by Nick Follger

Photo by Nick Follger

Ron Campbell was born in 1939 in the Australian state of Victoria and educated at Swinburne Art Institute in Melbourne. He was a prolific animator for five decades and is known best for his work on the 1960s spectacularly successful television cartoon series The Beatles, which was number one in the ratings for two straight years.

Campbell’s animation career began in the late fifties, and he worked on the Australian cartoon productions of Beetle Bailey, Krazy Kat, and Cool McCool for King Features.

His success with animation in Australia put him on the radar of Bill Hannah of Hanna-Barbera, and Campbell took a position animating in the US. He wrote, animated, and produced sections of the original George of the Jungle and Tom Slick television shows.

In 1968 he animated many sequences for the feature film Yellow Submarine including the “Sea of Time” sequence, scenes involving the Nowhere Man, and much of the action between the Chief Blue Meanie and his side-kick, Max. In his book, Up Periscope Yellow, Al Brodax, the producer of Yellow Submarine, credits Campbell for helping save the movie by tying it all together at the last minute.

Campbell, in 1971, founded an animation studio, Ron Campbell Films, Inc. He directed and produced the animation for The Big Blue Marble, for which he earned many awards, including an Emmy for Best Children’s Show of the Year and a Peabody for Excellence in Broadcasting. He also wrote and produced cartoons for Sesame Street and The Smurfs. His studio also produced publicity films for Disney.

During the 70s and 80s, he produced, directed, animated, or storyboarded numerous other hit shows, including The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Captain Caveman, Scooby-Doo, and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The 1990s took Campbell to Disney Animation, where he storyboarded, animated, and directed on The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Bonkers, Darkwing Duck, and Goof Troop. He also spent much of the decade storyboarding for Rocket Power, The Rugrats, and the adult cartoon Duckman. During this decade, he received Emmy nominations for a storyboard for Ahh! Real Monsters, and another for The Rugrats.
After retiring from a fifty-year career, Campbell turned his talents to painting subjects he brought to the screen, emphasizing members of The Beatles. His work is shown in galleries internationally and across the USA.
Ron Campbell passed away in January 2021, leaving behind a legacy of animation and art.

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