Ray Patterson, 90, an animator whose seven-decade career included contributing to four Oscar-winning Tom and Jerry shorts at MGM and bringing Marvel Comics superheroes to television, died Dec. 30 of natural causes at his Encino home after a lengthy illness.
Born in Hollywood, Patterson began his career as a teenager in 1929 as an inker at the Charles Mintz animation studio. In 1939 he moved to Walt Disney Studios, where he animated "Pluto" shorts and worked on "Fantasia" and "Dumbo."
After joining MGM in 1941, he worked in the Tom and Jerry cartoon unit.
In 1954, he opened his own studio--Grantray-Lawrence Animation, with Grant Simmons and Bob Lawrence--and produced and directed animated commercials, including the original "Winston Tastes Good" campaign.
In 1966, the company turned out the syndicated television series "Marvel Superheroes," chronicling the adventures of Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and others. In 1967, Patterson produced and directed the first season of "Spider-Man."
He later worked exclusively for Hanna-Barbera, becoming the studio's supervising director in 1983. Later he was named vice president in charge of animation direction.