Friends, passionate and accomplished film historian and friend, Giannalberto Bendazzi, just left us, last night, at age 75.
Matchless in his command of world animation history, it seems impossible to overstate Professor Bendazzi’s importance, influence, or reach. Had he accomplished nothing but his excellent (and inauspiciously titled) 1994 animation history Cartoons, we would celebrate him. But, remarkably, that single volume would be just a warmup act for his comprehensive, three-volume Animation: A World History, published twenty years later. With singleminded passion, Sig. Bendazzi crafted a sweeping survey of animation history that crisscrossed a century and globe with erudition, abiding affection, and a Phileas Fogg urgency.
Giannalberto, then in his sixties, insisted to me this would be the last time he would write such a history. It sounded implausible — if you have spent even ten minutes with him you will appreciate why — but unfortunately he was right. And it feels impossible to imagine anyone else, anywhere in the world, able to take up this mantle.
Molte grazie, Giannalberto. You were one of a kind. The animation world and the world-world are much the richer thanks to you.