Robert S. Birchard 1950-2016 – Animation Scoop

Robert S. Birchard 1950-2016

Sad news. At 5:20 am this morning, animation film editor, film historian and good friend Bob Birchard passed away.

A beloved member of the Disney Television Animation crew (as editor of numerous shows and movies, including Disney’s well known Ducktales, and Gummi Bears), Bob was also a well known film historian, the author of numerous books and articles on early American movies, silent film and Hollywood history. He was also and President of Hollywood’s long-running annual movie-buff conclave, Cinecon.

Robert S. Birchard caricature by Ed Wexler

Robert S. Birchard caricature by Ed Wexler

His close friend Stan Taffel posted this notice on his Facebook page: “(Bob) passed away this morning after complications from a heart attack. He went quietly and without pain. His last hours were spent in the company of his brother Paul, girlfriend Denise and his close friends, Suzanne Lloyd, Steve Hulett, Deva and Stan Taffel. Bob meant so many different things to so many people and his gentle good humor and tireless spirit will be greatly missed by all of us.”

bob-birchard-smallBob was a thorough researcher and an excellent writer. He wrote several acclaimed books including one on Cecil B. Demille and another on Tom Mix. He also wrote articles on movie history for publications ranging from American Cinematographer to Westways; and was a contributing writer to many anthology volumes – including Hollywood Corral – and appeared on many documentaries (MGM: When The Lion Roars) as a leading Hollywood expert.

He was also a good friend who I would run into, at least once-a-month, when he would attend my film regular screenings at the Janet Klein show in Hollywood; or I would see him at the Margaret Herrick library researching an article or new book; or at a classic movie showing at the Academy, LACMA, The Egyptian or Aero. Bob was a ubiquitous figure in the Los Angeles movie buff scene. He left a large contribution to his chosen field. He will be sorely missed.

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Jerry Beck

Jerry Beck

Writer, cartoon producer and author of more than 15 books on animation history. A former studio exec with Nickelodeon and Disney; currently on the faculty at both CalArts in Valencia and Woodbury University in Burbank.
Jerry Beck
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  • Richard Simonton

    Bob Clampett claimed Bob Birchard had a silent movie face, said in friendship as a high compliment.

  • Also for the record…

    Bob was a loyal supporter of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and a long-time member of our Archive Council.

  • Bob was a supporter of the Vintage music scene. Many times he would show up at our monthly venue to see our our shows at the now closed Talking Stick.

    Just about every Sunday he would show up at the UnUrban to watch Brad Kay and the many assorted singers, Mikal Sandoval, Flo Lawrence, Mews Small, CJ Banks, Suzy Williams, and many musicians Dan Weinstien, Tsugumi, Dutch, Mark Fletcher, Oli Steinberg and Tom Marion just to name a few, perform show tunes and classical jazz.
    The group would then go to the Spitfire where Bob would join us for dinner. When the topic of film came up Bob would chime in with amazing inside stories of early Hollywood.

    We will miss him.

    Dutch Newman