John Ahern

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John Crosbie Ahern was born on December 6, 1933. He spent over 50 years in the animation business working personally with Walt Disney and other prominent men in the industry. After retiring to Utah, Ahern taught in the Visual Arts Department at Brigham Young University. Ahern passed away in 2008.

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Background

John grew up in Southern California where his father, John Hannibal (Jack H.) was a well-known set decorator who worked on projects ranging from TV's The Monkees to the live-action Disney classic 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.

While working toward a degree in engineering with a minor in art at Brigham Young University, John was drafted into the Korean Conflict. When he finished his military service in 1955, John got started in the animation business. After an animation test, John was hired at Disney. He went on to attend Santa Monica City College and the Pasadena Art Center.

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Ahern began his professional career in animation in 1955 at Walt Disney Productions. He went on to work at Hanna-Barbera Productions, Ruby & Spears Productions, Depatie-Freiling Studios, Dic Productions, Filmation, TMS, Project X, Warner Brothers, Marvel Productions, Graz Entertainment, Calico Ltd., New World Animation, Klasky Csupo,Imageworks/Sony Pictures, Sunbow Productions, Nickelodeon, and AKA Cartoon Productions. In addition, Ahern has worked in the United States, England, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Ahern’s job responsibilities included producer, supervising animation director, production manager, supervisor of layout, special effects director, animator, art director, storyboard artist, layout artist, storyboard supervisor, freelance true life and adventure cameraman. In addition, he was the president and owner of two separate studios, AM Productions and Westwind Productions.

While at Disney, he worked with his cousin Grenade Curran on live action films. Ahern continued in the industry until September 1999, when he retired from the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonist Union.

Ahern was an associate professor at BYU for the Fine Arts Department in Animation where he taught storyboard, visual arts and character design.

Work

In all, Ahern has more than 650 film credits. Some of his work includes:

Movies:
Muppet Babies
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Aristocats
  • The Sword and the Stone
  • The Muppet Babies
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • The Jetson Movie
  • 101 Dalmatians
  • The Boy and the Eagle
  • Mary Poppins
  • Jumanji

Television Shows:

  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Gummy Bears
  • Duck Tales
  • The Flintstones
  • Tom and Jerry
  • Fantastic Four
  • Scooby Doo
  • Chalkzone
  • Butch Cassidy
  • Godzilla
  • Pink Panther
  • Ed, Edd and Eddy
  • Transformers
  • Tiny Tunes
  • Batman
  • G.I. Joe
  • Dennis the Menace
  • Spider-Man
  • Muppet Babies
  • The Hulk

Other Projects:

  • Epcot Center
  • Designs for Disneyland Park, including the Matterhorn ride

In addition, Ahern was a member of many organizations including the Academy of Motion Picture-Television Arts and Sciences, Motion Picture Screen Cartoonist Union, Local #839 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)] and the American Animation Institute.

Awards

Throughout his career, Ahern has won numerous awards including

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  • Carnege Art Institute National Scholastics 1st places (3).
  • Golden Reel Award in 1985 for Producer of “Dungeons and Dragons” at Marvel, Ltd.
  • Academy of TV Arts and Sciences- Emmy Award for the production of “Muppet Babies” in 1987.
  • Academy of TV Arts and Sciences- Emmy Award for the production of “Muppet Babies” in 1988.
  • Academy of TV Arts and Sciences- Emmy Award for the production of “Muppet Babies” in 1989.
  • Academy of TV Arts and Sciences- Emmy Award for the production of “Muppet Babies” in 1990.
  • Academy of TV Arts and Sciences- Emmy Award for the production of “Muppet Babies” in 1991. Ahern was the first one in film history to receive five Emmy awards in a row. The "Muppet Babies" brought home an Emmy award five years in a row.
  • Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature Assembly in 2005 honoring Ahern's career in animation that spanned more than 50 years.
  • Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Golden Award in 2005 for 50 years of service

Family and Past-times

In 1963, he married Shirley Lynn Arnold in the Salt Lake Temple. They had one son and three daughters.

Kelly Loosli organized the animation students to produce some artwork as a get-well present for Ahern while he was in the hospital, which Ahern kept long after that particular hospital stay.

Ahern died on October 29, 2008, at the age of 74.

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