DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Steve Krantz (aged 83)
-Film producer and writer (Spiderman, Fritz the Cat)
Stephen Falk’ “Steve” Krantz (May 20, 1923 –January 4, 2007) was a film producer and writer.
He worked as a comedy writer for Milton Berle and Steve Allen. His later years were devoted to the production of animated cartoons in Canada. After firing Shamus Culhane from the animator’s supervising director job on Rocket Robin Hood, director Ralph Bakshi and background artist Johnnie Vita were brought to Toronto, not knowing that Krantz and producer Al Guest were in the middle of a lawsuit.
Failing to reach a settlement with Guest, Krantz told Bakshi to grab the series’ model sheets and return to the United States. When the studio found out, a warrant for Bakshi’s arrest was issued by the Toronto police. Bakshi’s animation studio, Bakshi Productions, took over Rocket Robin Hood and another Krantz-produced series, Spider-Man, beginning Krantz’ working relationship with Bakshi.
By 1968, Krantz was producing live-action shows (such as the Canadian supernatural series Strange Paradise). Krantz agreed to produce Bakshi’s animated film Heavy Traffic, but told Bakshi that Hollywood studio executives would be unwilling to fund the film because of its content and Bakshi’s lack of film experience. Bakshi later pitched a film adaptation of Robert Crumb’s comic strip Fritz the Cat, and Krantz sent Bakshi to San Francisco in an attempt to persuade Crumb to sign the contract. Krantz later acquired the film rights through Crumb’s then-wife, Dana, who had Crumb’s power of attorney and signed the contract. Fritz the Cat was released on April 12, 1972, opening in Hollywood and Washington, D.C. A major hit, it became the most successful independent animated feature of all time.
DEATH: He died in Los Angeles, California, on January 4, 2007 from complications of pneumonia, aged 83.