Friday, February 02, 2007

Larry E.'s Portfolio: Jim Fletcher

Jim Fletcher (1930-2004) started at Disney as an inbetweener in 1954, straight out of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was laid off in the 1958 shakeup, a few months after being promoted to animator, and spent a few years animating at UPA, Snowball, Eagle and Format ...

Jim Fletcher

... before going back to do comic book work at Disney, working on Scrooge, Mickey Mouse and Mad Madam Mim (some of his work can be seen here).

He spent the late 'sixties and 'seventies bouncing between Filmation and Hanna-Barbera as a background and layout artist; by the time of Larry Eikleberry's 1979 portrait he was supervising layout at Filmation.

The 1980s saw him doing comics work for Eternity Comics and Archie Comics, while once again reinventing himself as a storyboard artist for H-B, Marvel (on Transformers and GI Joe), Hyperion and Disney TV. (Reinvention is the name of the game in the 'toon industry, especially if you want to keep working.)

Jim passed away in 2004.


chrisheadrick said...

I have very fond memories of Jim Fletcher, even though I worked with him for a very short time at Sony around 1997 or so.

Jim was absolutely full of old Hollywood stories. Back in the 50's, my understanding was that he was what was called a "male escort" before the words gained a disreputable connotation: in other words, Jim would chaperone or accompany ladies to premieres and engagements so they did not have to go alone. He was good friends with Debbie Reynolds (and stayed good friends until his death, I understand), and she told other starlets of the time that Jim was a fine fellow to accompany them, so he became known as a responsible and gentlemanly "date" for any occasion. As a result, he had photos of himself out to dinner with some of the most beautiful ladies of the era: Dolores Del Rio, Paulette Goddard, Cyd Charisse, etc. He had albums full of photos of himself amongst Hollywood legends. He'd bring the albums to work and tell wonderful stories.

I wish he was still around. I'd always hoped to spend more time with him and hear all that stuff again. Dinner with Dolores Del Rio or Cyd Charisse in a swank Hollywood supper club? He lived the life of my daydreams.

MrFun said...

Fletcher and I go way back to Disney in the fifties where I worked with him on "Sleeping Beauty." I plan to write more about him in a series of columns I'm doing for JimHill Media.

Fletcher knew more movie stars than a studio boss. Just being a friend of his, I met many stars including, Gregory Peck, Edward G. Robinson and many others. It was not unusual to be at Jim's home in Encino and have a famous actor stop in. No joke. He knew them all.

Though Fletcher loved animation, I never felt he needed to work. His dad, Edger ran his own company back in Chicago, and Jim had piles of Disney stock. But, I shared his love of movies, and often spent many a weekend just going out to movies and talking about them. Once I got married and began raising a family, there was no longer any time for that.

Jim never married, and in later years his health began to fail. I had lunch with him after his heart surgery, and he was still struggling to come back from that. I think if he had married, he might be alive today. Sometimes you need a wife to "nag" you about your health.

However, you're right about the Hollywood babes. Fletcher escorted a number of them around town. It not unusual for him to receive a phone call from Debbie Reynolds or Margaret O'Brian when hanging out with him.

Jim Fletcher was like old Hollywood. A wonderful era now passed.

Anonymous said...

my names Jenna Fletcher, and I'm 14, and Jim Fletcher is one of my cousins.
Unfortunatley, I never recieved the chance to meet him, but i have heard many great stories from my family. I was wondering if anyone had any other stories or pictures you would like to share with me and my family.
if so, please e-mail them to,


Amy Fletcher Trende said...

My name is Amy Fletcher Trende. My dad and Jim were cousins. I miss him and his letters. I miss his Christmas cards. I was wondering if there is anybody else out there that can send me pictures and or stories about Jim. I have been working on my Family Tree for a long time. I would really apprecaite any information that you can send me. "Uncle" Jim was one of the greatest artists that lived. Long live Scooby Doo, and the alligator on Peter Pan, and everything else that he was done. We will miss you and so will our children and their children and so on. Thanks again, Amy Fletcher Trende

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