Remembering Dick Rauh

Posted by on Jun 21, 2024 in Uncategorized | No Comments

By Ray Kosarin

This past year, ASIFA–East lost a beloved leader and friend. On October 9, Dick Rauh, our
second and longest-serving president, died at the age of 98.
Our ASIFA–East Animation Festival would not exist without him; Dick loved the festival and, for
over two decades, his was the face that presided over this event.

Dick was kind, a leader, a mentor. He was both an artist and successful business owner. It is a
special person who can be president of an animation union and then open his own studio and
stay friends with everyone.
With sadness and overwhelming gratitude, ASIFA–East honored our friend Dick at this year’s
ASIFA–East Animation Festival, with memories of Dick contributed from our ASIFA–East
community, past and present. We share their words with you now, including a few which time
prevented our sharing during the event.

From Howard Beckerman:
Dick Rauh was the man to go to when leadership was required. He became president of the East Coast Animation Union, Local 841, and the president of ASIFA-East for many years, building the organization to a substantial meeting place for artists, independent filmmakers, and animation devotees. The long running ASIFA-East Animation Festival was created in the early days of his presidency. Through those years, he was a savvy partner of the successful optical effects firm, The Optical House.
Shortly after Dick became president of ASIFA-East, he turned to me at a meeting and said,
“Howard, why don’t you prepare a program on a specific topic, such as animation and music.” I
did…. It went well and Dick told Boone Mancall the publisher of the trade magazine “Making
Films in New York.” Boone asked me to write an article based on my lecture and used it in his
magazine. I eventually received invitations to write for other periodicals. I did additional programs on animation subjects for ASIFA-East and for other organizations. This began, for me, a half century of writing and teaching. Thank you, Dick.
Dick Rauh was the guy to go to.

With, June Foray at the 1976 Ottawa Animation Festival.
Photo by John Canemaker, 1976. All Rights Reserved.

From Candy Kugel:
Dick was always a great supporter of independent animation and regularly attended the
Ottawa International Animation Festival— one of the few “studio bosses” to go…. Dick then
went back to school and became a PhD in botany illustration. He began to teach classes himself
at the New York Botanical Gardens….

ASIFA used to meet at the Optical House every month and then Buzzco Associates took over. I
once asked Dick, how did you get to stop hosting the meetings? He said, “Went out of business!”

From Linda Simensky:
I took over as president of ASIFA-East after Dick, and there was a gigantic gap to fill. He’d been
president for a long time, and he was certainly beloved. He knew everyone and everything, and I was in awe. What made me feel better about taking the position was that it allowed Dick to
finally retire from ASIFA and get busy being a grandfather and learning botanical illustration,
which he was working on at that point.

Several years later, a friend of mine who was not an animator, gushed to me about an amazing
course she was taking in botanical illustration. She couldn’t say enough about how amazing her
teacher was, how inspired she was and how much she was learning. I offered to lend her my
botanical illustration book filled with Dick’s illustrations, and it turned out she had it already
because he was her instructor. I appreciated the coincidence, but I wasn’t surprised. I was
excited to learn that Dick was having just as much impact in his second career as he did in his first.

Dick with Candy Kugel in front of one of his botanical illustrations.

From JJ Sedelmaier:
I first met Dick while sitting in on Local 841 Union meetings and negotiations in the early/mid
1980s…. Even though he was a big guy, he was one of the most gentle, sensitive, and rational
humans around, and certainly in attendance at any Union Meeting! Later, I went from sitting on the member’s side of the table to joining the Producer’s side of negotiations while I was at The
Ink Tank. Again, I always knew that Dick would be the rational source in any discussion. A lovely
man with a great sense of humor too!…
From 1984 to 1988, I worked with Dick’s Optical House [on] many groundbreaking projects.
There was no one better to creatively and technically strategize with. I doubt we’d have been
able to accomplish HALF of the work we did back then without his participation and support —
AND encouragement!
When I found out that he’d retired and had become a botany illustrator, I couldn’t wait to see
his artwork! It was a sight to behold!
R.I.P. my friend… with love and condolences….

From David Ehrlich:
This gives me an opportunity also to thank Dick Rauh, who passed away in October at the age of 98. In those early years, Dick was president of ASIFA–East—but, more than president, for me he was a kind of father figure: always helpful, supportive.
That first festival in 1976, almost 50 years ago, I got a prize for a film in the Non-Sponsored
category. At the end, Dick said, “Want a ride?” “Yeah.” I was staying at my brother’s, down in
NoHo. I got in the car with Dick, Howard Beckerman, Tissa David; we had fun driving down, 10
or 15 minutes. As I got out of the car, Dick put his hand on my shoulder and said, “David, I hope
to see you again next year with another beautiful film.” That meant so much to me, as did my
friendship with him through the years. Thank you, Dick; thank you, ASIFA–East, for almost 50
years of friendship and support.

ASIFA–East is forever grateful to Dick, for his immeasurable role in building ASIFA–East and,
especially, for his enduring kindness.

For a few years after Dick stepped down from being president of ASIFA-East, we had an
annual summer picnic at his house in Connecticut. With this photo from the early 90s, you
can see us having a fun time hanging out and celebrating another ASIFA-East year gone by.
We always appreciated heading out of the city to Dick’s house and it’s fun seeing photos of so
many luminaries of NY animation.—Linda Simensky

Standing, left-to-right: Steve Dovas, John Dilworth, Jerilyn Mettlin, Ronan Divon, Howard Beckerman, Bill Lorenzo, Tom Warburton, John Gati, Mary Ann Japhe
Seated, left-to-right: Ray Kosarin, Suzanne Diamant, Janet Benn, Linda Simensky, Candy Kugel, Shamus Culhane, Simi Nallaseth, Dick Rauh, Iris Beckerman