Oscar winner ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ was 64 .

Mark Gustafson, the stop-motion specialist who won an Oscar this year for his work on Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro, died Thursday. He was 64 years old.

Del Toro announced the news Friday on social media, assignment: “I admired Mark Gustafson, even before I met him. A pillar of stop motion animation – a true artist. A compassionate, sensitive man full of biting wit. A legend – and a friend who inspired and gave hope to everyone around him. … Today we honor and miss him.

THE Oregonian newspaper too reported his death.

Gustavson also worked on stop-motion California Raisin Characters early in his career and served as animation director on the Wes Anderson film. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), another Academy Award-nominated stop-motion film.

When del Toro set out to tell Carlo Collodi’s 1883 fable about a wooden puppet who longs to become a real boy, he chose Gustafson as his directing partner. The duo also won the BAFTA and Annie Awards, among other accolades, for the Netflix release.

“We did some design work in 2011 and 2012, and then it all disappeared,” Gustafson said. said in an interview in March. “He died several times.” Only Netflix would approve the project, he noted: “We went all over the place. Even with Guillermo, when you walk into the room, and he describes it as a film about the death and rise of Mussolini, you can just see the color drain from the faces.

His long career in stop motion began in the 1980s at Will Vinton Studios in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, on the California Raisins – the group of singing, dancing stop motion raisins who became wildly popular after their appearance in a California Raisin advisory committee. commercial song, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”

He also has…

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