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Cartoon legend Chuck Jones dies

Jones: "Animation isn't an illusion of life, it is life."  

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Chuck Jones, creator of some of Warner Bros.' most famous characters including the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, and Pepe Le Pew, died Friday at the age of 89, the Orange County Coroner's office said.

The coroner's office said Jones died at his home of congestive heart failure.

A statement from Linda Jones Enterprises, Jones' daughter's company, said the animator died at home with his wife of 20 years, Marian, by his side.

Born September 21, 1912 in Spokane, Washington, Jones grew up in Hollywood, where he observed Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton while working as a child extra in silent comedies.

After graduating from Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles -- now the California Institute of the Arts -- Jones drew pencil portraits and sold them for a dollar each on the street. In 1932 he got his first job washing cels, or transparent sheets of celluloid, in the fledgling animation industry.

Four years later he became an animator for the Leon Schlesinger Studio, later sold to Warner Bros., where he was assigned to the team that made "Looney Tunes" and "Merrie Melodies" cartoons. AOL Time Warner is the parent company of Warner Bros. and CNN.

He directed his first animated film, The Night Watchman, at age 25. The six-minute cartoon used 5,000 animation drawings.

In his 60-year career, Jones made more than 300 animated films and won three Oscars, according to his Web site.

"Animation isn't the illusion of life; it is life," Jones once said.

A memorial for the animator is planned soon in Newport Beach, the statement from Linda Jones Enterprises said, while private services will be held for family members only.


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