Martha Sigall, R.I.P.
Martha Sigall worked in the animation business for 53 years as an inker and painter of animation cels. Animators did the drawings in pencil and then it was up to folks like Martha to trace them onto sheets of celluloid and paint them with colors. If you ever saw a vintage Looney Tune or Merrie Melodie made after 1936, you saw Martha's handiwork and she labored for most of the other studios in town at one time or another.
In the last few decades, Martha became a great source for anyone researching the industry. She was sharp and bright and helpful and she had a good memory and — perhaps best of all — the wisdom to say "I don't know" when she didn't know. A lot of spurious history has been written because those who didn't know or remember felt they had to make something up or take a wild guess. Not Martha. She knew so much that it didn't bother her to occasionally say "I don't know."
I had the pleasure of talking with her on many occasions at animation events. She loved the field and she loved the people she worked with and she loved the newer generation of animation creators and animation historians…and we all loved her.
She died this December 13 at the age of 97. Her autobiography, Living Life Inside The Lines: Tales From The Golden Age of Animation can tell you more about her and so can her good friend, Jerry Beck. We'll miss you, Martha.