A man who made countless invaluable contributions to the development and use of animation in film, Maurice J. Noble had a strong creative hand in some of the most important and memorable works of animation in the 20th century. From his groundbreaking work in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to his memorable creations for Warner Bros., Noble's creations have been putting smiles on the faces of children of all ages for more than 50 years.
Born in Spooner, MN, Noble studied watercolors at Choiunard Art Institute in Los Angeles on a scholarship, later beginning his career as a department store designer before joining the Walt Disney Co. as a background artist for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1934. Noble's unique innovations in color design were a major part of his contributions to Disney (including the memorable pink elephant sequence in Dumbo ), as well his work on more than 60 Warner Bros. cartoons, including Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century, The Bugs Bunny Show, The Road Runner Show, and The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour. Noble's strong eye for composition and use of shapes were prevalent in the imaginative and humorously exaggerated Road Runner backdrops that he reinterpreted from his childhood memories of the desert.
Serving during World War II in the Army Photographic Signal Corp. (which he had joined at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' request), Noble forged fruitful relationships with contemporaries Ted "Dr. Seuss" Geisel and famed Warner Bros. animator Chuck Jones. After the war, he entered into a partnership with Jones that would span nearly 50 years; the duo were responsible for some of the most memorable Warner Bros. cartoons of the era. Teaming with Geisel in the 1960s, the trio created such Dr. Seuss classics as The Cat in the Hat (1972) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). In 1965, Noble co-directed, along with Jones, the Oscar-winning animated short The Dot and the Line.
Leaving the business for the duration of the 1970s, Noble returned in the early '80s, as a layout artist on Bugs Bunny's Third Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales (1982) and Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island (1983). Later, he contributed designs to Chuck Jones Prods. and Warner Bros., before forming Maurice Noble Prods. In May 2001, animation pioneer Maurice J. Noble died in La Crescenda, CA. He was 91.