April 19, 2017 posted by


Born in Arizona in 1914, Manuel “Manny” Perez started his animation career at Warners in 1934, with his high school friend, Phil Monroe. Perez animated for Friz Freleng’s unit throughout much of the 1940s—his first screen credit appeared in Porky’s Bear Facts (1941). As a member of the Screen Cartoonists Guild (SCG), he was one of the few Guild artists locked out of the studio when producer Leon Schlesinger refused to sign a contract and attempted to repel union organization, of which the strike lasted only six days in May 1941.

Manuel “Manny” Perez in Freleng’s unit, 1940

By late 1947, when Art Davis was demoted from director to animator for Freleng, Perez was transported over to Bob McKimson’s unit, credited on two 1950 releases, Pop ‘im Pop and Dog Collared. When animator Gerry Chiniquy left Warners to take up another line of business altogether, Perez returned to Freleng’s unit. (Chiniquy’s new business interests are unclear, since city directories from the 1950s are currently inaccessible.)

Perez left Warners after it shut down its animation department, in the wake of the 3-D craze, in 1953. Phil Monroe hired him at Ray Patin’s studio, as an animator on several commercials. It’s unclear how long Perez stayed there, but around the late ‘50s, he went over to Hanna-Barbera, animating on The Huckleberry Hound Show and Quick McGraw McGraw. Later, he animated on Ed Graham’s Linus the Lion Hearted for a brief period, and went over to DePatie-Freleng, and remained there until the early ‘70s—though, occasionally, he animated for Bill Melendez’s Peanuts television specials (namely, Charlie Brown Christmas and He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown). According to Greg Duffell, despite Perez spending a majority of his career animating for Freleng at Warners and DFE, he had feelings of resentment towards him from his surly personality as a director. Virgil Ross also recollected to Greg that Perez was Freleng’s “whipping boy,” and felt Friz belittled him.

After his departure from DFE, Perez animated on several animated features including Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, and The Lord of the Rings for Ralph Bakshi, Filmation’s Journey Back to Oz, and Bob Taylor’s The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat. By 1975, he worked as a sequence director on the Japanese-funded animated anthology film Metamorphoses (aka Winds Of Change), for Sanrio Productions. He continued to animate the Warners characters for several television specials with the Warners characters, working with Freleng and Chuck Jones. He moved to Ruby-Spears as a director in the late ‘70s, mainly as a director on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. Perez was credited on two animated features, Hanna-Barbera’s Heidi’s Song and Ralph Bakshi’s Hey Good Lookin’, both released a year after his death in 1981.

Admittedly, biographical information on Manny Perez is light, in that it seems that he hadn’t been formally interviewed about his career. In the mid-‘40s, Perez moonlighted at James Davis’ shop, like many other animators in the West Coast, drawing funny animal stories for Benjamin Sangor’s line of comics, with a brief return in the early ‘50s. Much of the drawing/posing in his stories appear much like his work for Freleng; Milton Mouse in Barnyard Comics #14 has a striking resemblance to the gray mouse in The Fifth Column Mouse (1943).

“Oscar Owl”Coo Coo Comics #23 (February 1946)

“Windy”Goofy Comics #13 (April 1946)

“Of Mice and Menace”Happy Comics #23 (January 1947)

“Milton Mouse”Barnyard Comics #14 (October 1947)

“The Cub Scouters”Goofy Comics #28 (August 1948)

“Hunky”Happy Comics #27 (September 1948)

“Nubby”Giggle Comics #73 (September-October 1950)

(Thanks this week to Yowp and Greg Duffell for their help)


  • Thank you for this research! This happens to be my great-uncle (my grandmother’s Maria Perez Amaro’s brother). I was just telling my kids about him as an early animator while watching some old classic cartoons! The classic cartoon animation and content are still unmatched. There is still much talent in his family. Thanks again- lTom

    • Hi Tom. Manny was my grandfather.

      • Hi Bill. I would love to interview you about your grandfather, Manny Perez. Please contact me. I’m a history professor at LSU. Would love to hear more about your family. Stephen Andes (Associate Professor of History, Louisiana State University)

  • This happens to be my great grandpa my grandma Elizabeth was married to his son and had my mother Anna Perez and my aunt Martha Perez she spoke very highly of him I was born five months after he passed I would have loved to have met. Him

    • Manny Perez is my Grandfather. My mother was married to his son, Bill. I only met him once or twice, around 1978/79 I can’t really can’t give an accurate time since I was 8 or 9 years old. He was always a mysterious hero to my sister and I since we lost contact with our father shortly after Manny passed away. What a wonderful bio you wrote for him Devon.

      I don’t know if you’ll ever see this but I want to thank you. I’ve now discovered so many other projects he worked on that I never knew about. I still have a little drawing he did for me of Daffy Duck. I look at it every day to this day.

      Thanks again. And, hello Alyce, I also don’t know if you’ll ever see this but it’s really made for a wild Friday night to discover a relative 🙂

  • My father, Bob Carlson had the pleasure of working with Manny Perez on several productions over the years, as well with the Screen Cartoonist Guild efforts. Mr. Perez obviously made a grand impression on my father, both as an accomplished artist, and as a human being. Thank you for sharing this history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *