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“No more jokes from Mr Gross Snr…” read the first line of the text message just after 7am on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, from Mr Gross Jnr, a perfectly apt way to ease into the news of his death overnight. Yoram Gross was as well known among family and friends for his inexhaustible humour as he is known world wide for his work as a pioneer in Australian animation. By Andrew L. Urban.

One of Yoram Gross’ first films in Australia (1968 or 1969) was a live action (no budget) short in which I starred, having met him a few weeks earlier. I starred because I was the only character, wondering the fringes of Centennial Park dying of thirst. After I found a lonely tap and drank copiously, Yoram made me take a piss against a tree. So ended my shorts career.

The incident became a running gag throughout our decades of friendship, which later embraced a professional relationship when I began writing on film and filmmakers in 1985. I wrote of his work often and at length. We published a fairly comprehensive snapshot of his life some years ago. When he died, he was surrounded by his wife and business partner Sandra, his son Guy, daughter Karen, and their five grandchildren. In his text to me, Guy Gross reminded me how his father would often say: “Everything is bullshit.” It gives an indication of his attitude, although it hides his enormous humanity.

Everyone praises the dead, but I challenge anyone to find a bad thing to say about Yoram Gross (except perhaps the odd weak joke). He was a pioneer, a determined and creative engineer of happiness, with films that celebrate innocence, virtue and courage – the latter of which he and Sandra had an ample supply.

By a fateful coincidence, the new feature film Blinky Bill The Movie, a character always associated with Yoram Gross, whose studio produced the 1990s TV series, has just been released in Australia (17/9/2015).

His autobiography, My Animated Life, was published in 2011

Yoram Gross with Guy Gross

Published September 23, 2015

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Yoram Gross

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