Former Cartoon President, Robert Balser, passes at 88

Former Cartoon President, Robert Balser, passes at 88


Very sad news for Cartoon and the fans of classic animation. We have learned that Robert Balser, the animation director for The Beatles’ 1968 feature, Yellow Submarine, has died at the age of 88. Robert Balser was President of Cartoon from 1990 to 2004. 

With a career spanning more than 50 years, Balser was perhaps best-known for his work as animation director alongside Jack Stokes on the groundbreaking animated feature, Yellow Submarine. One of the few American artists on the Yellow Submarine team, Balser directed and storyboarded all the scenes that were pre- and post- Pepperland, including Liverpool, the travel sequences through the various seas, and the return.

Though Yellow Submarine was Balser’s first feature-length film, he had previously worked on a number of award-winning commercials. Most notable among his early achievements is his work with revolutionary graphic designer Saul Bass on the innovative (and nearly seven-minute long) animated title sequence for the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days. Balser also directed El Sombrero, or The Hat as it was known in English, in 1964 for Spanish production company Estudios Moro. 

After Yellow Submarine, Balser opened his own production company in Barcelona, Spain where he produced TV series such as The Jackson 5, and The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, as well as Peanuts for CBS, Barney for BBC, The Triplets for HBO, and many others. He also directed the “Den” segment on the classic 1981 animated feature, Heavy Metal. In addition to running a production studio and school in Barcelona for decades, Balser also served as a board member for ASIFA International from 1978 through 1994, and helped launch ASIFA-Spain in 1980.

CARTOON sends its sincerest condolences to Balser’s family.

Inspired by the press article of Jennifer Wolfe of AWN