About Chuck Jones

“ANIMATION ISN’T THE ILLUSION OF LIFE; IT IS LIFE.”

In a career spanning over 60 years, Jones made more than 300 animated films, winning three Oscars as director and in 1996 an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Among the many awards and recognitions, one of those most valued was the honorary life membership from the Directors Guild of America. During the Golden Age of animation Jones helped bring to life many of Warner Bros. most famous characters—Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig. The list of characters he created himself includes Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin Martian, Pepe le Pew, Michigan J. Frog and many others. He also produced, directed and wrote the screenplays for “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a television classic, as well as the feature-length film “The Phantom Tollbooth.” In addition, Jones was a prolific artist whose work has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide. Jones often recalled a small child who, when told that Jones drew Bugs Bunny, replied: “He doesn’t draw Bugs Bunny. He draws pictures of Bugs Bunny.” His point was that the child thought of the character as being alive and believable, which was, in Jones’ belief, the key to true character animation.

Born on September 21, 1912 in Spokane, Washington, Jones grew up in Hollywood where he observed the talents of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and worked occasionally as a child extra in Mac Sennett comedies. After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (now California Institute of the Arts) Jones drew pencil portraits for a dollar a piece on Olvera Street. Then, in 1932, he got his first job in the fledgling animation industry as a cel washer for former Disney animator, Ubbe Iwerks. It was at Iwerks Productions that he met Dorothy Webster, to whom he was married in 1932.

In 1936 Jones was hired by Friz Freleng as an animator for the Leon Schlesinger Studio (later sold to Warner Bros.). Jones admired and revered Freleng for the rest of his life, saying, “No one except Tex Avery had as perfect a sense of timing as did Friz Freleng.”

Timeline & Fact Sheets

Born September 21, 1912, Spokane, Washington

Grew up in Hollywood, observing the talents of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton; worked as a child-extra in Mack Sennett comedies

Graduated from Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts)

Drew pencil portraits for a dollar a piece on Olvera Street, then got first job in the animation industry as a cel washer for former Disney animator, Ubbe Iwerks, 1932

In 1936 became an animator for the Leon Schlesinger Studio (later sold to Warner Bros.) and was assigned to Tex Avery’s animation unit

Directed first animated film, The Night Watchman, in 1938 at the age of 25

Directed over 250 animated cartoons at Warner Bros.

Looney Tunes characters co-created:
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Daffy Duck
  • Elmer Fudd
  • Porky Pig
  • … and many others
Characters solely created:
  • Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote
  • Marvin Martian
  • Pepe Le Pew
  • Michigan J. Frog
  • Gossamer
  • Marc Anthony & Kitty
  • Sniffles
  • Private SNAFU
  • Hubie & Bertie
  • … and many others

Worked briefly for Disney Studios while on hiatus at Warner Bros. in 1955

Warner Bros. animation unit closed 1962

Director
  • The Dot and the Line (Academy Award winner), 1965
  • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Peabody Award winner), 1966
  • Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who (Peabody Award winner), 1971
  • The Pogo Birthday Special, 1971
  • 34 Tom & Jerry theatrical short films
Producer, Co-Director, Co-Writer
  • The Phantom Tollbooth (feature), 1971
Co-Producer, Writer, Director, Bugs Bunny Show

Producer, children’s weekly variety show, Curiosity Shop

Co-Creator, Charlie Tuna for television commercials, 1960s

Writer, Director, several Gillette television commercials, 1960s

Writer, Designer, Heineken Beer television commercial (for British TV), 1960s

Writer, Co-Director, Gay Purr-ee (feature), 1962

Co-Producer, Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, 1971

Executive Producer, Richard Williams’ Christmas Carol, 1972

Director, Producer, Writer (for ABC-TV)
  • The Cricket in Times Square, 1973
  • A Very Merry Cricket, 1973
  • Yankee Doodle Cricket, 1974
Director, Producer, Writer (for CBS-TV)
  • Rudyard Kipling’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, 1975
  • Rudyard Kipling’s The White Seal, 1975
  • Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli’s Brothers, 1976
Writer, Director
  • Saint-Saen’s The Carnival of Animals, 1976
  • A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur’s Court (based on Mark Twain’s original story) 1978
  • Two TV specials featuring Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper and The Pumpkin Who Couldn’t Smile, 1978

Creator, Crawford, syndicated comic strip, 1976-1977

Creator, bridges and new animation
  • Daffy Duck’s Thanks-for-Giving Special, 1979
  • A feature compilation of past work, Chuck Jones’ Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, 1979
  • Bugs Bunny’s Bustin’Out All Over, 1980

Director, titles for feature film, Gremlins II, The New Batch, 1990

Director, segments of animation for feature films
  • Stay Tuned, 1992
  • Mrs. Doubtfire, 1993

Character design and development, co-producer for ABC television’s Chuck Jones’ Peter and the Wolf, 1996

Creator, Director, new animated theatrical short films for Warner Bros.
  • Chariots of Fur, December 1994
  • Superior Duck, August 1996
  • Pullet Surprise (directed by Darrell Van Citters), March 1997
  • Father of the Bird (directed by Steve Fossati), November 1997
  • Another Froggy Evening (unreleased)
  • From Hare to Eternity (unreleased)