Saturday 13 December 2014

Martha Sigall

This is a picture from 1941 of the mixed doubles bowling team at the Leon Schlesinger cartoon studio that released films through Warner Bros. The young lady on the bottom row, second from the left, was in the studio’s ink and paint department. Her name was Martha Goldman. She later married and became Martha Sigall.

Word is that Martha has passed away after a stroke several days ago. She was born on April 17, 1917 in Rochester, New York.

Her first day at the Schlesinger studio was July 13, 1936. She started at $12.75 a week. Her career stretched through the Golden Age of theatrical animation into the television era. More importantly, for those who love those old cartoons, Martha had a wealth of stories she wrote in her autobiography Living Life Inside the Lines (2005). In it, she dispelled the myth that Schlesinger was a clueless, classless boob. She revealed that he was a genuinely nice man with a sense of humour. She talked about many of the people she worked with, some of whom, like assistant animator Harold Soldinger (top left corner of the photo), no stories had ever been written.

Martha worked with, and knew, many of the greats of the industry: Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, Frank Tashlin, Mike Maltese, Irv Spence and, well, the list is a very long one.

By all accounts, she was a dear person and will be truly missed by those in the animation industry and her many friends.

Thanks, Martha.

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