Bob Givens, the artist who created the original Bugs Bunny design, has died. The animator was 99 years old when he succumbed to an undisclosed illness at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank.
After a stint as an animation checker at Walt Disney, which included working on their first full-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, before joining Chuck Jones and Tex Avery’s team at Warner Bros. While working on a 1940 cartoon called A Wild Hare, Avery came to Givens with a rabbit character designed by director Ben Hardaway and character designer Charles Thorson. Thinking the character was “too cute,” he asked Givens to recreate him, thus leading Givens to come up with the original official designs for Bugs Bunny.
Givens was drafted during World War II, where part of his service was to work on animated military training films. He returned to WB in the ’50s for a brief time before it shut down in 1954. His next job was with Hanna-Barbera, where he worked on properties like Tom and Jerry. He would once more return to Warner Bros. Animation when they relaunched in the 1970s, working on projects including The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, Bugs Bunny’s 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales, and Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island.
In the later portion of his career, Givens worked with Filmation on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in the 1980s. He also did layout work on late-1980s, early-1990s childhood favorites like Garfield and Friends and Bobby’s World.