Ernest Pintoff, 70; Animator Won Oscar

Ernest Pintoff, an Academy Award-winning animator and a film and television director, has died. He was 70.

Pintoff died Jan. 12 at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills of complications from a stroke.

He won the Oscar for best animated short for “The Critic,” a 1963 satire on modern art written and narrated by Mel Brooks. Pintoff previously earned an Oscar nomination for his animated short “The Violinist,” narrated by Carl Reiner.

On television, Pintoff directed episodes of numerous series, including “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Falcon Crest.” As part of NBC’s “Experiments in Television” in the late 1960s, he directed the documentaries “This Is Marshall McLuhan” and “This Is Sholem Aleichem.”


Among Pintoff’s feature credits as a director are the low-budget “Who Killed Mary What’s ‘Er Name?,” starring Red Buttons, and “Dynamite Chicken,” a collection of songs, skits, commercial parodies and old movie clips with appearances by Richard Pryor, John Lennon, Andy Warhol and other celebrities.

Pintoff, who taught directing at the School of Visual Arts, American Film Institute, California Institute of the Arts and UCLA, received the International Animated Film Society’s Winsor McCay Award for distinguished lifetime contributions to the art of animation in 1998.

Born in Watertown, Conn., and raised in New York City, Pintoff originally was a jazz trumpeter and later taught painting and design at Michigan State University.

He began his animation career in 1956.

After suffering a stroke in 1983, Pintoff turned to writing books, including a memoir, “Bolt From the Blue”; a novel, “Zachary”; and animation textbooks.

He is survived by his wife, Caroline; son Jonathan of Los Angeles; daughter Gabrielle Stornaiuolo of San Francisco; and three grandsons.