Involved in film animation from the young age of 12, Richard Williams' international reputation as a true innovator grew so much that by 1990 he was voted "the Animator's Animator" by a poll in the London Times, and a commentator for the New York Times has called Williams "miles ahead of anyone in the world of animation." Williams' work has spanned classic hand-animation style and incorporates contemporary computer animation methods.
In the late '40s, Williams worked for both Disney and UPA studios, ultimately leaving for England in 1955 where he created his wonderful 33-minute animated film The Little Island (1958), which won the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film in 1959. This piece gained him immediate recognition as a professional and highly talented animator.
This was followed with A Lecture on Man and Love Me Love Me Love Me in 1962, Circus Drawings (1964), Diary of a Madman (1965), The Dermis Probe (1966), and Nasrudin (1972). The made-for-TV version of A Christmas Carol (1971) won Williams his first Oscar. Williams worked on the unfortunately nearly forgotten film Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977) which has some charming songs by Joe Raposo, as well as advanced animation and characters somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).
Williams has also designed and animated title sequences for several feature films, including the Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers vehicles Return of the Pink Panther (1974), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Woody Allen's What's New Pussycat? (1965) directed by Clive Donner, Casino Royale (1967), and linking sequences for The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968).
Williams is arguably best known as the director of animation and designer of the characters for Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). For this project, Williams won two Academy Awards including a Special Achievement Award. Besides his three Oscars, Williams has received three British Academy Awards, an Emmy, and an astonishing 246 international awards.
In 1995 he offered the Richard Williams Animation Masterclasses for professionals and students which are conducted in London, Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong, France, and Denmark. As an extension of his teaching, Williams has authored the acclaimed book The Animator's Survival Kit (2001). Williams founded his own studio which continues to turn out animation films, as well as myriad prize-winning commercials. In 1995, Williams also animated, directed, and co-wrote the musical Arabian Knight with the voices of Vincent Price, Matthew Broderick, Eric Bogosian, and Jennifer Beal.