Roger Rabbit animator Richard Williams dies at 86

Image source, Ronald Grant
Image caption,
Bob Hoskins starred alongside Williams' creation Jessica Rabbit in the 1988 fim

Richard Williams, the Oscar-winning animator who worked on the hit film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, has died aged 86.

Williams, who was born in Toronto but moved to the UK in the 1950s, won two Oscars and a Bafta for his work as animation director on the 1988 film, which starred Bob Hoskins.

The triple Oscar and triple Bafta winner also worked on two of the Pink Panther films and Casino Royale.

Williams died at his home in Bristol on Friday, his family announced.

'An inspiration'

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a live-action animated comedy set in Hollywood in 1947 in a world where humans and cartoon characters co-exist, was a critical and commercial success.

Williams, who was hired to supervise animation sequences, helped create the film versions of Roger Rabbit and his wife, Jessica, first depicted in the book, Who Censored Roger Rabbit.

Williams won two Oscars for the film, in the special academy award category and for special effects.

His daughter, Natasha Sutton Williams, said her father - who had six children - had been suffering from cancer, in what she said had been quite a swift illness.

She said: "He really was an inspiration to everyone that met him. Whether they were animators, or from the top to the bottom of society.

"An incredibly generous, warm-spirited person who really wanted to learn about the world."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Richard Williams won two Oscars and a Bafta for his work as animation director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Williams, who was also a voice actor and writer, credited Snow White - which he saw at the age of five - as having a "tremendous impression" on him.

"I always wanted, when I was a kid, to get to Disney. I was a clever little fellow so I took my drawings and I eventually got in," he told the BBC in 2008.

"They did a story on me, and I was in there for two days, which you can imagine what it was like for a kid."

After that, he said he was advised to learn how to draw properly and admitted he "lost all interest in animation" until he was 23 - throwing himself into art.

Williams said he was drawn back to the craft because his "paintings were trying to move".

His first film, The Little Island, was released in 1958 and won a Bafta, while his animated adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in 1971 led to him winning his first Oscar.

During his lengthy career, Williams also wrote a how-to book called The Animator's Survival Kit and was animating and writing until he died.