Quimby in the studio in 1944
Frederick Clinton Quimby
July 31, 1886
|Died||September 16, 1965 (aged 79)|
(m. 1923; died 1954)
Frederick Clinton Quimby (July 31, 1886 - September 16, 1965) was an American animation producer and journalist, best known for producing the Tom and Jerry cartoon series, for which he won seven Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film. He was the film sales executive in charge of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio, which included Tex Avery, as well as William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the creators of Tom and Jerry.
Quimby was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and started his career as a journalist. In 1907, he managed a film theater in Missoula, Montana. Later, he worked at Pathé, and became a member of the board of directors before leaving in 1921 to become an independent producer. He was hired by Fox in 1924, and moved to MGM in 1927 to head its short features department. In 1937, he was assigned to create MGM's animation department.:65
In 1939, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera presented Quimby with a proposal for a series of cartoons featuring a cat and a mouse. Although he had no interest in the idea, Quimby approved, and the result was Puss Gets the Boot, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Initially, he refused to pursue more Cat and Mouse cartoons after Puss Gets the Boot. However, following the critical and financial success of that cartoon, he agreed to make Tom and Jerry an official cartoon of the MGM cartoon studio. As producer, Quimby became a repeated recipient of the Academy Award for Animated Short Film for the Tom and Jerry films, though he never invited Hanna and Barbera onstage when he accepted the awards. His name became well known due to its prominence in the cartoon credits, and Quimby took sole credit for approving and producing the Tom and Jerry series. Quimby was not involved in the creative process and had a difficult relationship with animators, including Hanna and Barbera, who believed that Quimby was not fit for a real animation leader:
|"||...unfortunately for a cartoon producer, [he had] no sense of humor to call upon... He knew nothing of animation and cartoons were a strange thing to him. Cast in the role of high school principal opposite the animators' boyish enthusiasms, he acted as liaisons between them and the front office, usually it seemed, turning down requests for bigger budgets, raises and special dispensations of funds.||"|
After the production of Good Will to Men, Quimby retired from MGM in May 1955, with Hanna and Barbera assuming his role as co-heads of the studio and taking over the production title for the Tom and Jerry shorts. Despite the success with Hanna and Barbera, MGM assumed that re-releasing old cartoons would be more profitable, and the MGM's cartoon division did not last long after; it was closed in 1957. MGM would later contract first Gene Deitch and then Chuck Jones to produce more Tom and Jerry shorts through their own studios during the 1960s.
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