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Jimmy Murakami, “When the Wind Blows” Director, 1933 – 2014

by on February 19, 2014

Cartoon Brew reports the passing of Jimmy Murakami at age 80, director of 1986’s animated feature film When the Wind Blows and an instrumental figure in the development of Ireland’s animation industry. Murakami was born in 1933 in San Jose, CA, and was sent to the Tule Lake Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, and the lasting scars of the experience were documented in a recent film Jimmy Murakami – Non-Alien. Murakami’s family settled in Los Angeles after the war, where he attended the Chouinard Art Institute in the 1950’s (which would eventually become the renowned CalArts academy), studying under Disney animator Marc Davis and working alongside Chuck Jones. From there, Murakami worked for the UPA studio in 1955, earning credits on the groundbreaking TV series The Gerald McBoing Boing Show.

Murakami worked briefly at Pintoff Studios in New York, Toei Animation in Tokyo, and at several different studios in Europe before returning to Los Angeles to launch Murakami-Wolf Productions with business partner Fred Wolf. He moved to Europe permanently in 1971, where his animation credits included the opening sequence to 1981’s Heavy Metal, the British TV special The Snowman, and the landmark feature When the Wind Blows, about a retired British couple coping with an imminent nuclear attack. Murakami Films opened in Dublin in the 1990’s, working on the 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series (directed by his old business partner Fred Wolf), and his presence in that Irish city was instrumental in developing the animation industry there.

(Via TZ member aegisrawks; additional information via Animation World Network)

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