Pittsburgh native who became noted animator dies
By Tony LaRussa
Published: Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Pittsburgh native Lou Scheimer, whose company produced iconic animated cartoons including “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” “The Archies,” “Fat Albert” and “The New Adventures of Superman” has died. He was 84.
“Lou loved the work he did because he really loved kids,” said his wife, Mary Ann Scheimer of Tarzana, Calif. “And in later years, he got great pleasure from the many letters he received from fans who told tell him that they were now watching the shows he created with their own children.”
Mr. Scheimer grew up in Homewood and attended Westinghouse High School.
He was a 1952 graduate of then-Carnegie Tech where he studied art and made the daily trek to school with a neighbor from Oakland — Andy Warhol, his wife said.
When he graduated, Mr. Scheimer moved to Los Angeles and co-founded the animation company Filmation Associates.
One of the hallmarks of Filmation cartoons is the epilogue, which typically features a main character explaining a simple moral lesson in child-friendly terms.
“He was always concerned about the moral lessons kids received when they watched his cartoons,” his wife said. “Through the years, he got into some battles with toy companies.”
Scheimer said her husband had been battling Parkinson's disease and heart disease.
Pittsburgh City Council honored the Emmy Award-winning animator in 2011 by declaring Nov. 12 “Lou Scheimer Day.”
That same day, a gallery at Pittsburgh's ToonSeum, which is dedicated to cartoon arts, was named in Mr. Scheimer's honor.
The ribbon for the gallery was cut using a replica of the “He-Man power sword” that was cast from the original one used for the “Masters of the Universe” float in the 1986 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“Filmation was known for taking iconic characters such as Superman ... and shows that were no longer on TV such as ‘Star Trek' and breathing new life into them through animation and updated story lines,” ToonSeum founder Joe Wos said. “In many ways, they deserve a lot of the credit for revitalizing the whole concept of the superhero.”
Wos said he is planning a public celebration of Mr. Scheimer that will include a number of examples of his work.
He garnered five Daytime Emmy Award nominations and a Primetime Emmy nomination. In 1975, he won a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Entertainment - Children's Series category for the “Star Trek” animated series.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Scheimer is survived by a daughter, Erika Scheimer of Santa Monica, Calif., and a son, Lane Scheimer of Maui, Hawaii.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or email@example.com.
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