Other cartoon characters may be better known these days, but Bugs Bunny remains one of the most influential cartoon characters in the history of animation - as well as one of the few lucky enough to play basketball with Michael Jordan.

Never seen without his carrot but always cracking a joke or two, the famous grey rabbit icon became the official mascot of the Warner Bros. franchise and has gone on to appear in more films than any other cartoon character - including Disney's Mickey Mouse.

That success is all down to one man in particular, Bugs' designer Bob Givens, who died from natural causes last Thursday, 14 December, at the grand old age of 99.

Givens died while receiving palliative care for an illness at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank. His death was announced by his daughter Mariana on Facebook.

Credit: Warner. Bros.

Givens worked as an animation checker on the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs before being hired by Warner. Bros to redesign Bugs, who was judged to be 'too cute' in his original design.

He was responsible for the first official design of Bugs as the wisecracking rabbit made his debut in the 1940 Oscar-nominated animated short A Wild Hare.

Since then, Givens' design of Bugs has been largely the same, although it's obviously been refined as years have gone by. That's not a bad legacy to have at all really.

Givens' career in animation lasted a whopping seven decades as he worked for the Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbara animation studios, as well as racking up credits on a list of other important movies and TV shows.

For the first 30 years of his career, Givens worked as a character designer and layout artist, working on a short to short basis.

Credit: PA

Lending his expertise to the original Popeye cartoon, Givens went on to work for almost every major series of cartoons in the 70s and 80s, contributing to Garfield & Friends, Tom & Jerry, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Givens received his final credited work on Timber Wolf in 2001 before largely retiring from active animation work, although he continued to teach and give animation talks well into his nineties.

His name may not have been at the forefront, but if you're a kid of a certain age you will have seen a cartoon worked on by Givens.

Rest in peace, Bob.

Featured Image Credit: Warner. Bros

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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