Sad news to report – Toby Bluth, brother of Don Bluth and a fine artist and animator in his own right, passed away on October 31st, according to producer Gary Goldman on Facebook.
According to Goldman, “Toby (Fredrick) Bluth passed away at noon on Halloween Day of a severe stroke. As many of you know, Toby was an extraordinary talent as a painter, an Art Director, a Director of live theater and has a long list of successes in theater and animated film. From his wikipedia: Fred “Toby” Bluth is an American who has worked on many Disney films and others as animator, Background artist and Production designer. He has also had a long career writing and illustrating Children’s Books, not to mention performing and or directing, nearly one hundred musicals, both on Broadway and off. Bluth’s artwork is prominently displayed at most of the Disney theme parks around the world.”
Toby was a man of many talents – with full careers in both musical theatre and animation art. In animation Bluth toiled as a layout artist for Hanna Barbera in the 1970s and 80s (on such shows as Godzilla, Challenge of The Superfriends and The Smurfs) before becoming a character designer on The Chipmunks. He co-directed and designed the direct-to-video Babes In Toyland for MGM in 1997 and began an association with the Disney studio – as background stylist on The Tigger Movie – in 2000. In later years he bacame a Disney “fine artist”, doing limited edition art in the style of the classics for sale in galleries and at the theme parks. This brought him public recognition and earned him a fan base all of his own.
His work was never limited to Disney – Toby did commissioned art for other studios, including Warner Bros. and King Features. Below is a small sample of his work – and the joy – he left behind. He will be missed.