Gerald Potterton, one of the animators behind The Beatles Yellow Submarine and the director of Heavy Metal has died. He was 91 years old.
The death was confirmed by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in a statement to Pitchfork.
In a statement, Claude Joli-Coeur, NFB chair and government film commissioner, said: “Gerald came to Canada and the NFB to be part of a new wave of storytelling, one that was fresh and irreverent, and he brought great wit and creativity to every project. He was also a builder, helping to lay the foundation for today’s independent Canadian animation industry with Potterton Productions.”
Potterton was born in London and later moved to Canada in the 1950s to work with NFB animation.
He directed two Oscar-nomainted short films, My Financial Career and Christmas Cracker, plus two live-action comedies, The Ride and The Railrodder.
He famously worked on the animated Beatles film Yellow Submarine in London in the 1960s before returning to Canada to found Potterton Productions.
Paying tribute, The Beatles Story in Liverpool wrote: “We’re saddened to hear of the passing of animator, writer, director and producer Gerald Potterton.
“He worked on The Beatles animation ‘Yellow Submarine’ and is credited with the layout of the ‘Liverpool sequence’ on ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Rest in peace Gerald.”
You can see some more tributes to Potterton here:
Sad news: British-Canadian movie director and producer (and painter) Gerald Potterton died yesterday, age 91. He was nominated 3x for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film (with 2 made for the National Film Board). Here is a nice 1982 painting he did for my grandfather: pic.twitter.com/eWuX3Pwp2o
— Thomas Juneau (@thomasjuneau) August 24, 2022
We're saddened to hear of the passing of animator, writer, director and producer Gerald Potterton 🕊️
He worked on The Beatles' animation 'Yellow Submarine,' and is credited with the layout of the 'Liverpool sequence' which features the song Eleanor Rigby
Rest in peace Gerald ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ksiqoI4Y1X
— The Beatles Story (@beatlesstory) August 25, 2022
Very sad to learn of the passing of Canadian director Gerald Potterton, who directed Buster Keaton for @thenfb here in Halifax and across Canada, and worked with the Beatles on Yellow Submarine and SCTV cast members on Heavy Metal. What a legacy! pic.twitter.com/di2DN8zU7z
— Stephen Cooke (@NS_scooke) August 24, 2022
Gerald Potterton, director of “Heavy Metal”(1981), has passed away. I first saw HM on a bootleg tape @visioncon, back when gaming cons had video rooms and movie studios didn’t notice. Right there, it became one of my favorite films. #RIP Mr Potterton and thank you. pic.twitter.com/sultUkDZTt
— Temple of The Golden Grognard (@GoldenGrognard) August 26, 2022
— chris prynoski (@chrisprynoski) August 24, 2022
🕯️ With a heavy heart, we mourn the passing of long-time friend and collaborator Gerald Potterton (1931-2022). Join us in celebrating the life of the director behind Heavy Metal & The Railrodder by revisiting his #NFB filmography→ https://t.co/9gzBNJKjvF
📸w/ Buster Keaton, 1965 pic.twitter.com/WYzJlgMsdR
— National Film Board of Canada (@thenfb) August 24, 2022
Right now, we cannot express this any better. Gerald Potterton was to be our special guest at our convention this year, at which he was looking forward to attend. We will be celebrating his life & work in his very sad absence. Safe journey, Gerry https://t.co/Go1aQhX4vg
— Buster Keaton (@BusterKeatonSoc) August 25, 2022
This is a developing story – more to follow