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Louis Hertz


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ATLANTA: Louis Hertz, 73, animator who inspired others


While other children were following instructions and doing as they were told, Lou Hertz was happily doodling away, lost in a black-and-white world of his own making. One flickering image at a time, his life unspooled before him.

"As a boy, he got very poor grades in school because he spent all his time drawing cartoons," said his son, Paul L. Hertz of Washington. "He'd make little flipbooks on the page corners of his textbooks. From Day One, he was always drawing and always fascinated by comics and animation."

Louis O. Hertz, 73, died of cancer Monday at his Atlanta residence. The graveside service is at 11:30 a.m. today at Arlington Cemetery. Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care is in charge of arrangements.

The herky-jerky drawings of his boyhood never stopped animating Mr. Hertz's imagination. After a stint in the Air Force making training films, the Birmingham native landed a job in Hollywood, working on "Mr. Magoo" and other classic 1950s cartoons.

In 1957 Mr. Hertz moved to Atlanta, and within a few years he started his own advertising agency, cleverly combining animation and live action in his ad campaigns. He sold the company in the early 1970s and owned three radio stations for several years before returning to his first love.

Starting as a consultant, Mr. Hertz moved into full-time work as a pen-and-ink animator with Crawford Communications, Turner Communications and the Cartoon Network. His warmer-looking, hand-drawn approach offered a stylistic balance to the computer-heavy work of some of his younger colleagues.

"Lou was a classic," said Manoela Muraro of Atlanta, who worked with Mr. Hertz at the Cartoon Network. "He was so talented and so in love with his profession. He was surrounded by all these young, crazy people, and he loved joking around and taking us under his wing."

Ms. Muraro said Mr. Hertz was a natural networker who relished being in the thick of the local animation community. He organized screenings and served as president of the Atlanta chapter of the International Animated Film Association. After he retired, he spent the last decade teaching animation classes at the Atlanta College of Art and other local campuses.

He remained a huge Disney fan and amassed an enormous collection of classic animation. But he was also dazzled by the jaw-dropping special effects of science fiction films and couldn't wait for each new "Star Wars" movie to come out.

Mr. Hertz was passionate about issues affecting his Morningside neighborhood. He fought to protect its trees, lobbied to have speed humps installed on its residential streets and campaigned against a proposed parking deck in nearby Piedmont Park, said his neighbor, Julian Bene of Atlanta.

With his white poodle, Sam, in tow, Mr. Hertz was frequently seen driving around Virginia-Highland or walking to the park and chatting with his neighbors.

"Lou was just a riot," said James Peebles of Cumming, one of his former colleagues at Crawford. "He was such a good artist, but he was always jokey and self-effacing."

"Being from Alabama, he had this booming Foghorn Leghorn kind of voice that was loud and slow and drawly. Whenever I needed a lighter moment, he was the person I'd call."

Survivors include his wife, Judith B. Hertz of Atlanta; daughters Karen Hertz Everett of Larchmont, N.Y., Amy L. Hertz of Memphis and Claire Hertz Bernstein of Chicago; and 12 grandchildren.

© 2005 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 6, 2005
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