Grim Natwick .com


Artist, animator and film director Myron "Grim" Natwick was born in on August 16, 1890 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. He is best known for drawing the popular cartoon character Betty Boop, produced by Fleischer Studios.

Natwick had five brothers and two sisters. His parents, James and Henrietta (Lyon) Natwick owned a furniture store. His grandfather Ole was one of the earliest Norwegian immigrants to the United States, arriving in Wisconsin in 1847.

Grandpa Natwick had eleven children in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin (now part of Wisconsin Rapids), including James W. - Grim's father - and Joseph, who was the father of actress Mildred Natwick.

He had the nickname of Grim since before high school as a takeoff on his "anything but Grim" personality. He was well known even in high school for his artwork and his poetry. Although never published, many pages of his poetry are available.

His brother Frank Natwick was reputedly one of the first Wisconsin athletes to be invited to the Olympics in 1908. He was a high hurdler for the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he was president of his class.

Natwick studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His artistic career started with cover designs for sheet music, initially for a friend who worked at a music publishing company.

He found that he was good at this type of work and contacted other publishers in Chicago, eventually illustrating the covers for many song sheets, usually in no more than two colors.

Although Natwick created the original design of Betty Boop, legal ownership of the Betty Boop character remained with the studio, since he was in its employ at the time.

Fleischer wanted a girlfriend for his successful creation "Bimbo." Natwick worked for a number of American animation studios, including the Ub Iwerks studio, Walt Disney Productions, the Walter Lantz studio, UPA, and the Richard Williams studio.

Copyright © Fleischer Studios

Boop-oop... well, you know the rest

At Disney, Natwick was a lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and was instrumental in bringing the titular heroine to life.

While working for the Fleischer Studios in 1939, Natwick was in charge of drawing the Prince and the Princess for Gulliver's Travels.

He also helped to animate Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, Mr. Magoo, Popeye, Felix the Cat and many other '40s and '50s cartoon greats.

Three of Grim's former assistants included Walter Lantz (Hearst), Chuck Jones (Iwerks) and Marc Davis (Disney).

Grim Natwick died on October 7, 1990 in Los Angeles, California of both pneumonia and a heart attack, but not before he first enjoyed, with friends including Shamus Culhane, his 100th birthday party. Talk about making it all the way, and finishing things with a big blowout!

10 years later, the Wisconsin Historical Society erected a memorial plaque to Grim Natwick in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

In addition, South Wood County Historical Museum in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin is home to an extensive Grim Natwick exhibit.

Relevant Reading:

Ether And Me
Or "Just Relax"

Written by Will Rogers
Art by Grim Natwick
G.P. Putnam & Sons (1929)
(Some of Natwick's non-Betty work.)


The Official Betty Boop Website
IMDb On Natwick

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