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Leo D. Sullivan, an Emmy-winning pioneer in animation with a career of over 50 years and work on dozens of cartoons, has died. He was 82.

Sullivan died March 25 of heart failure at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

Throughout his career, Sullivan helped bring characters to life through his animation, storyboarding, directing and producing. His work spanned numerous television shows, including “Hey, Hey, Hey, It’s Fat Albert,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “My Little Pony” and “Flash Gordon,” along with companies like Hanna-Barbera, Warner Brothers and Spunbuggy Works. Sullivan contributed to the opening animation on “Soul Train” which premiered in 1971.

The Lockhart, Texas, native moved to Los Angeles in 1952, and soon entered the industry running errands for “Looney Tunes” animator Bob Clampett. In the 1960s, Sullivan joined former Disney animator Floyd Norman to help co-found Vignette Films, a company that created educational films for U.S. students about historic Black figures.

The pair would go on to found AfroKids, a website and streaming service with a mission of providing “a stellar experience for the whole Black family.” More recently, Sullivan launched his own foundation, Leo Sullivan Multimedia Inc.

Sullivan has twice been awarded by the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in Oakland, Calif. and had his artistic work displayed in San Francisco Cartoon Museum and the Los Angeles African American Museum. He also taught classes in digital animation and 2D animation for three years at the Art Institute of California-Orange County.

He is survived by his wife Ethelyn, daughter Tina Coleman, and son Leo D. Sullivan Jr.



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