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Brenda Banks (2020), pioneering animator who worked on “Wizards,” “King of the Hill”

by Linnea Crowther

Brenda Banks was one of the first Black women to work as an animator, with credits including “Wizards,” “The Simpsons,” and “King of the Hill.”

Pioneering animator

Banks studied animation at California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s while getting her start professionally on projects including the TV movie “Clerow Wilson and the Miracle of P.S. 14” (1972) and the ABC Afterschool Special “The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red’s Head” (1974). Banks began working with legendary animator Ralph Bakshi on his 1977 cult classic “Wizards,” and she would work with him again on “Lord of the Rings” (1978), “American Pop” (1981), and “Fire and Ice” (1983). Bakshi called Banks “one of the most hysterically funny animators I … ever worked with.”

Banks went on to animate TV shows and movies including “The Smurfs,” “Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters,” “This Is America, Charlie Brown,” “Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Once Upon a Forest,” “The Simpsons,” and “King of the Hill.” Colleagues remembered her as a quietly talented animator who would giggle to herself as she worked on funny scenes. Banks was honored by Women in Animation with a Diversity Award.

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Tributes to Brenda Banks

Full obituary: Animation Magazine

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