Tuesday, August 01, 2006

In Memoriam: Libby Hilberman

Mrs. Hilberman, long-time wife of animation veteran Dave Hilberman and one of the women pioneers in the cartoon business, passed away on July 11th. Tom Sito offers this remembrance: I first met the Hilbermans in 1991 when I helped organize a 50th anniversary picnic of the Walt Disney strikers. In 2003, I talked to them extensively for my book. Dave was a Disney artist and UPA founder who had the distinction of being one of the few artists personally fingered by Walt Disney in testimony to the anti-Commie HUAC committee ( Oct 25th, 1947). Libby was an artist at UPA, Tempo and Disney as well; she and Dave endured harrassment, blacklisting in Hollywood as well as in New York until they settled in Palo Alto to teach. Despite all that, they always kept their spirits up and their dignity. They never compromised their principles when it would have been much more lucrative to cave in. In their old age, this gave them a kind of inner peace that I found admirable. The satisfaction that they did the right thing, and because of it made an impact on all of us, was something they carried with them all their lives. Because of people like the Hilbermans, animation artists in California have the highest standard of living and best conditions of any animators in the world. And I for one, thank them. -- Tom Sito


Anonymous said...

Some interesting trivia:

From the transcripts of Walt's testimony to the House Committee of Un-American activities, Walt named Dave Hilberman as a communist. He explained that he was sure Hilberman was a communist because he'd heard Hilberman was an atheist.

Walt was great in very many ways, but naming names to Joe McCarthy was not his high point.

Steve Hulett said...

More and more, I find myself in admiration of people who take their own road and stick to their values. Especially when they go against the values of most of the rest of the lemmings.

Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to work with Dave, and always found him to be a very talented and generous man.

I never spoke with him about Walt. I thought that unfortunate period at Disney was something he'd rather forget.

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