BAKSHI, RALPH (1938– ), U.S. animator and film director. Bakshi was born in Haifa, Israel, but moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, when he was a year old. He showed an early talent for drawing, winning an award in animation upon graduation from high school. He went to work for Terrytoons, an animation studio, and during his ten years there he directed episodes of the television series Deputy Dawg and worked on the popular cartoons Hekyll and Jekyll and Mighty Mouse. By 1965 he was in charge of Terrytoons and was asked to put together a "superhero" TV cartoon series. He demonstrated disdain for the assignment by creating odd superheroes: Tornado Man, Cuckooman, Ropeman, and Diaper Baby. The CBS Television network, which then owned Terrytoons, loved the concept and broadcast The Mighty Heroes, a shortlived series.
After Terrytoons shut down, Bakshi moved to Paramount's cartoon division and stayed until 1967, when the studio closed it down. After working for Steve Krantz Productions on its adaptation of the Spider-Man comic book series in 1967, Bakshi produced his first theatrical animated feature, an obscenity-laced adaptation of Robert *Crumb's underground
After three urban animated dramas, Bakshi turned to fantasy in 1977 with Wizards, "about the creation of the State of Israel and the Holocaust, about the Jews looking for a homeland, and about the fact that fascism was on the rise again," he said. Bakshi withdrew from animated films but returned in 1981 with American Pop, a social history about four generations of Jewish-American immigrants. He devoted the next decade to painting but returned to animation with the 1992 film Cool World.
[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.