The Oscar winner of 'Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio' was 64 – The Hollywood Reporter

Mark Gustafson, the stop-motion veteran who won an Oscar earlier this year for Guillermo del Toro's PinocchioHe died on Thursday. He was 64.

Del Toro announced the news on social media Friday. publication“I admired Mark Gustafson even before I met him. A pillar of stop motion animation – a true artist. A compassionate, sensitive and extremely funny man. A legend – and a friend who inspired and gave hope to everyone around him. He died yesterday. Today we honor and miss him.”

When del Toro began work on his retelling of Carlo Collodi's 1883 fable about a wooden puppet who longs to be a real boy, he chose Gustafson as his directing partner. For the Netflix release, they received a BAFTA and Annie Award, among other awards. Gustafson previously served as an animation director on Wes Anderson's 2009 film Fantastic Mr. Fox, the Oscar-nominated, one-voice stop-motion film led by George Clooney as the titular Mr. Fox.

Gustafson's long stop-motion career in downtown Portland, Oregon, included the award-winning California Raisins – a stop-motion group of singing and dancing raisins that became big in the late '80s after appearing in a California Raisin Advisory Board commercial Gained popularity and sings “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”.

The Raisins were developed at the former Will Vinton Studios and appeared in numerous commercials and television programs.

Gustafson's work also included The pajamas, a series co-created by Eddie Murphy about an inner-city housing project. Gustafson won an Annie for directing the “Bougie Nights” episode in 1999 and also received one of his four Emmy nominations for the series.

He won an Emmy for the 1992 special Claymation Easter, a comedy about the kidnapping of the Easter Bunny, which he directed and co-wrote. His work also included the 1994 animated short film Mr Resistance, which he wrote and directed.

Del Toro said Friday that Gustafson “leaves behind a gigantic legacy of animation that stretches back to the origins of claymation and has shaped the careers and craft of countless animators.”

Accepting the Oscar on stage at the Dolby Theater last March, Gustafson said, “It's so good to know that this art form that we love so much, stop motion, is very much alive and well.”

There's more to come.

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