16. Grim Natwick

“I didn’t know there was a Depression.”

Grim was a rare animation master who didn’t think it necessary to blow his own horn; a true native of Wisconsin!  Stupidly, I had never even heard of him when he was assigned to our fledgling squad at UPA New York. In 1951.  At first glance I thought that Steve Bosustow was sending him to us as a way of putting the old guy out to pasture!  I only gradually discovered that Grim, (and what a stern nickname for the creator of Betty Boop! His real name was Myron, but no one called him that.) He was truly one of the greatest classic animators of all time!  In the early Walt Disney studio of the 1930s he was just about the only animator with formal art schooling. He became the principal animator of the Snow White character, the first animation of a human figure that conveyed charm, and life.  It was a monumental achievement!

As a person, I labeled Grim “taciturn,” supposedly typical of Wisconsin folk. It was hard to get him to say much, but when he did say something, it was often surprising.  Once he told me that during the 1930s, he wasn’t even aware that there was a Depression going on!  He was working at Disney’s, he told me, making $150 a week, a really high salary at the time. It was only when he visited his family that he heard from them about the Hard Times. He was a guy sealed in a cocoon of his work!

Grim was my principal animator on our hugely successful Bert & Harry Piel’s beer commercials. Along with the marvelous voice acting of Bob Elliot & Ray Goulding, it was Grim’s animation that gave life and charm to those characters.

At a happy reunion of some of our UPA New York stars, Grim and the others signed a napkin for me with my caricature drawn by Cliff Roberts. That was the last time I saw him, but he was unforgettable.

Grim Natwick. Photo of unknown source or date…

My photo of Grim at our 1984 Hollywood reunion lunch.

1 thought on “16. Grim Natwick

  1. Pingback: The Cast, in order of appearance: | genedeitchcredits

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