As confirmed by Variety, award-winning animator and director Robert Taylor has died from complications related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 70.
Taylor worked in animation for upwards of 30 years, including several stints with Fritz The Cat director Ralph Bakshi. Though Bakshi didn’t return for the infamously X-rated cartoon’s sequel, The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat, Taylor was given the nod in his place. The sequel didn’t have as much of an impact as the original movie did—a talking cat who does drugs and has sex was a bit more revolutionary then—but it at least made it into the Cannes Film Festival in 1974.
The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat was Taylor’s first job directing a feature film, and while he would later go for occasional stints behind the camera—so to speak—on more kid-friendly cartoons in the ‘80s and ‘90s, he spent the majority of his career as an animator and storyboard artist on shows like Challenge Of The GoBots, The Flintstone Kids, and TaleSpin. Taylor even won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1991 for his work on TaleSpin, which was sort of an alternate universe take on the characters from The Jungle Book.
Variety notes that, after he retired from animation, Taylor became “an accomplished jazz guitarist.” If the rest of his work is anything to go by, his jazz music probably featured a lot of interestingly high-concept cartoon characters.