Animator gained fame for 'Living Dead' roles
For years, Leland “Lee” Hartman never closed his door to fans of the cult classic “Night of the Living Dead” who wanted the autograph of the man who played a reporter and a ghoul in the 1968 movie shot in Western Pennsylvania.
Those fans likely never knew Hartman was a prolific animator with a home studio filled with thousands of drawings of cartoon characters he sketched for Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and local production companies.
“I think he grew to really respect and love that there were people who had appreciation for one aspect of his art form,” said Joe Wos, executive director of the ToonSeum, Downtown. “They knew him as an actor, but they didn't know he was this remarkable cartoonist.”
Leland “Lee” Hartman, of Castle Shannon, died on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, in Kane Regional Center in Glen Hazel after battling dementia for six years. He was 82.
Mr. Hartman, who had no children, would draw sketches for his four nieces and make up stories, said one niece, Kerra Penn of Chicago. He wrote, animated, produced and later sold a movie, “The Story of the Christmas Toys,” with characters based on his nieces.
“He was an amazing storyteller. He was a really extraordinary genius of a man,” Penn said Friday.
From 1955-60, Mr. Hartman was an animator for Walt Disney Studios, Penn said, helping animate films including “Sleeping Beauty,” “Paul Bunyan,” and the “Disneyland” television show.
At home, Mr. Hartman animated characters for commercials featuring the Pirate Parrot, Willi's ski shop and local car dealerships, Wos said. In the early 1990s, he helped animate characters for Warner Bros.'s “Tiny Toon Adventures.”
“It's a very solitary art form,” Wos said. “He'd be in his basement, plodding away on thousands and thousands of drawings. You don't get that immediate recognition.” His family gave many of the drawings to the ToonSeum and also to the Heinz History Center in the Strip District.
Mr. Hartman was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Hartman, who died in 2006. Along with his niece, Kerra Penn, he is survived by a sister-in-law, Ann Malloy, of Chicago, brother-in-law Arthur Quinn and his wife Lois, of Pittsburgh, and three other nieces.
Arrangements are being handled by John F. Slater Funeral Home in Brentwood. A public memorial service is being considered at the ToonSeum. Family asks that instead of flowers, people send donations in Mr. Hartman's name to the ToonSeum or the Senator John Heinz History Center.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Liriano, Pirates beat Giants, inch closer to lead in NL Central
- Starkey: Would one big move kill Pirates’ future?
- Pleasant Hills Night Out attracts large crowd
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- McKeesport councilman fined, given probation in gambling ring
- Whitaker man to serve 2 life sentences for West Mifflin murders
- Strike remains possible for East Allegheny teachers
- Father, son killed in East Huntingdon crash
- Pirates think Mercer’s defense deserves more credit
- Former walk-ons may lose scholarships under Penn State’s Franklin