Bob Givens, the man who created the official design for Bugs Bunny, has passed away at the age of 99. His daughter, Mariana Givens, let family and friends know via social media that her father had been in Pallative care at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank on the 13th of December and that he passed away from an unspecified illness on the 14th.
The animator started his career working for Disney on the classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves before making the move to Warner Bros. There, he worked with Chuck Jones and Tex Avery and was asked to look over a design for a rabbit — a new character they wanted to use, but all the designs that had come in were “too cute.” Givens would create what would become the iconic design in 1940, and the character made his first appearance in A Wild Hare. This film included what would become Bugs’s classic catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc?”
Givens was drafted into World War II, but would return to animation after, where he would work on Tom and Jerry, spent time with Hanna-Barbera, and worked on Garfield & Friends and Bobby’s World. He went back with Warner Bros. to work on animated films like The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie and Bugs Bunny’s 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales.
Tom Sito, professor of animation at the USC, wrote about his time with Givens on his Facebook page. “I met Bob doing layout on HeMan at Filmation. We ‘d go to lunch with him and Pete Alvarado. He was so funny, and his memory was so sharp.” Sito wrote. “Happy Landings Bob, say hi to all the gang in Animation Valhalla. You were one of the greats.”