American animator (1908-1980). Full name: Frederick Bean Avery. Born in Taylor, Texas, he was supposedly a descendent of both Daniel Boone and Judge Roy Bean. He graduated from North Dallas High School in 1927 and moved to sunny Southern California in 1929. He used some samples of his cartoons to get a job at the Walter Lantz Studios as an animator. While there, he was blinded in his left eye, thanks to an ill-advised bit of horseplay.

In 1935, Tex was able to pass himself off as a cartoon director and got hired to work at the Schlessinger Studios that produced the famous Warner Brothers cartoons. He was given his own animation unit and, along with other directors, like Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, and Friz Freleng, began pushing Warner's cartoons away from the Disney model of sweet, music-based, singing-and-dancing cartoons and toward edgier, sharper-edged animation. Tex himself had a flair for visual puns, physics-breaking stunts, and "wild takes".

Tex made important contributions to the development of Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Bugs Bunny. He even came up with Bugs' catchphrase. While the animators were brainstorming for something for the rabbit to say when Elmer Fudd points his rifle at him in "A Wild Hare", the first official Bugs Bunny cartoon, Tex remembered a common phrase from back home in Dallas: "What's up, Doc?"

After leaving Warner's in 1941, Tex ended up at MGM, where his cartoons got even wackier and funnier than ever. Tex's best-known cartoon at MGM was 1943's "Red Hot Riding Hood", which introduced the shapely title character, usually just called "Red", and the enthusiastically horny Big Bad Wolf (whose insanely wild takes were a large chunk of the inspiration for the Jim Carrey movie "The Mask"). Tex also created the eternally low-key, deadpan Droopy Dog while at MGM.

After leaving MGM in the 1950s, Tex worked briefly at Walter Lantz again, directing Chilly Willy in a couple of cartoons, then moved on to directing television commercials, including a long-running series of ads for Raid. He also did some TV cartoons for Hanna-Barbera late in his life.

Tex died of lung cancer in Burbank in 1980.

Research from the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com)

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