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Dan F. McLaughlin Jr.

1932 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Dan F. McLaughlin Jr. Obituary
August 1932 - March 15, 2016 Dan McLaughlin, the head of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television's Animation Workshop from 1970 to 2007, died March 15, 2016 in West Hills, California. He was 83. He was born August, 1932 in Hollywood, CA. His mother, Annabelle, was a studio hairdresser and his father, Dan, owned an auto body shop. Dan's connection to filmmaking began before he could even speak when he played the illegitimate love child of Irene Dunn in Ann Vickers (1933). He continued as a child actor until he rebelliously cut off his curly golden hair in order to avoid a casting call for Heaven Can Wait. Dan attended Hollywood High School, where he majored in Latin and was a star member of the track team. After high school, he served with the Army Corps of Engineers in Korea from 1953 - 1954. After coming back from Korea (he requested lamb chops, shrimp, steak, French fries, Canadian bacon, milk and beer for his welcome home dinner), Dan bought a MG, a car that he retained for the rest of his life. Dan then enrolled at UCLA and soon thereafter signed up for his first animation class. Dan graduated in 1958 from the UCLA Theater Arts Department (now the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television), and began working that same year at the Animation Workshop, founded in 1948 by former Disney animator Bill Shull. When Shull retired in 1970, McLaughlin assumed his post, and in 1971, founded the School's M.F.A. Animation Program. As an independent filmmaker, McLaughlin made more than 20 animated films, ranging from the traditional to the experimental, which earned both national and international recognition. His kinestasis student film God is Dog Spelled Backwards (1963) featured 3,000 years of art in three minutes set to Beethoven's 5th Symphony. It achieved national fame in June 1968 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour when the imagery was accompanied by composer Mason Williams' composition Classical Gas. His film Claude (1963) was a winner at the Chicago International Film Festival. Other credits include animation for Sesame Street, the Amnesty International Human Rights Now 1988 world tour and numerous titles for feature films. McLaughlin was also a pioneer in the fields of computer animation and interactive media. He introduced computer animation to the Workshop in 1968 and interactive animation in 1988; in 1991 he developed AIA, a laser disk multimedia critical analysis system for animation. He served on ASIFA Hollywood's board of directors, and in 1995, McLaughlin was the recipient of ASIFA Hollywood's Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement in animation. At the time of his retirement in 2007, the Animation World Network estimated that he had taught animation to 800 students and been an advisor on nearly 700 animated films. Dan was married three times. His first wife, Mary Margaret Serbia (Powell) was the mother of his three children: Dan McLaughlin (married to Evenda Lynn Elmen), Loren McLaughlin (married to Randy Graetch) and Maura Weber (married to Mark Weber). There are four grandchildren: Anna, Peter and Rose LaFollette, and Miles Weber. His second marriage to Professor Jutta Landa of the UCLA Department of Germanic Languages ended with her untimely death in 2003. At the time of his death, Dan was married to Marilyn Powell, a radio producer living in Toronto, Canada. Dan also enjoyed the company of Buster, Maura's boxer/pit bull mix, who was his constant companion during televised UCLA sporting events. Dan died in his sleep early in the morning of Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in West Hills, California and has been cremated. A celebration of his life and art is planned for sometime in May at UCLA. Interested people may request further information by contacting [email protected] In lieu of flowers, the family asks that charitable gifts be made in Dan's memory to "UCLA Foundation," and kindly note "Dan McLaughlin Animation Fund" with your gift. Send to: Fred Bush, Exec. Director of Development, UCLA TFT, 102 East Melnitz Hall - Box 951622, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1622.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Mar. 25 to Mar. 27, 2016
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