Another important figure in the Star Trek universe has left us. StarTrek.com is saddened to report that Hal Sutherland, co-founder of Filmation Studios and director of nearly every episode of the Emmy Award-winning Star Trek: The Animated Series, has passed away. The Filmation Facebook page made the announcement, but did not provide additional details, including when and how he died, or his age.
Sutherland – who started as an animator and worked on Sleepy Beauty and Lady and the Tramp at Disney -- founded Filmation in 1962 with Norm Prescott, who died in 2005, and Lou Scheimer, who passed away in October, 2013. Together, they provided countless hours of entertainment for generations of children, mostly through such popular Saturday morning cartoons as The Adventures of Batman, The Batman/Superman Hour, Aquaman, Archie, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, The New Adventures of Flash Gordon and, of course, Star Trek: The Animated Series, which ran from 1973-1974.
Sutherland semi-retired not long after TAS ended its run, relocating with his family to Washington State, where he lived out the next several decades relaxing, pursuing his passion for painting and marveling at the longevity of Star Trek: The Animated Series. “The Star Trek series has continued showing through the years to new and older audiences throughout the world,” Sutherland told StarTrek.com during an extensive interview in March, 2011. “I recently received a letter from the Ukraine asking for a pair of autographs for a fellow and his brother who are still viewing the shows. It’s so amazing that the popularity is still there and seemingly everywhere. (Conventions) around the world are also fascinating (for me) to attend, with chances to meet childhood fans that are now grown and entertaining their own children with these shows that are still available on TV. Their thanks for the work we did back then is very personal and rewarding.”