History lesson: Watertown native brings life to popular cartoon characters
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Many of us grew up watching cartoons on television. But before they hit our screens they had to be painstakingly drawn by hand, one movement at a time.
One of the staple animators back in the day was Virgil Ross. He was born in Watertown in 1907.
Ross only lived here as a child, but surely had an inclination toward art, even at a young age. He eventually moved to California, where his animations brought life to the characters we know and love.
One of his first successes was Oswald the Rabbit.
That character got Ross well known in the animation community, and soon he was working under Leon Schlesinger for Looney Tunes.
He got to animate the first appearance of the beloved Bugs Bunny in 1940, and animated Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Speedy Gonzales, Tweedy Bird, Woody Woodpecker, Road Runner, and Wile. E. Coyote, too.
He even had a brief gig with Disney animating Winnie the Pooh.
For his work, Ross was given the highest honor an animator can earn, The Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Golden Award.
And four of the cartoons he animated won Oscars.
He went from a boy in Watertown to an important staple in American television.
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