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Irven Spence (24 April 1909 - 21 September 1995) was an American animator. He is best known for his work on MGM's Tom and Jerry animated shorts. Spence has been credited variously as Irven Spence, Irvin Spence, and Irv Spence.

Spence interest in drawing began in his youth, when he provided cartoons for his high school newspaper (along with classmate William Hanna. Spence's earliest animation work was for Charles B. Mintz's Winkler Pictures, and then for Ub Iwerks, where he worked on the "Flip the Frog" series.[1]

After Iwerks Studio folded in 1936, Spence worked at Leon Schlesinger Productions for several years as a member of Tex Avery's animation unit. He followed Avery to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after Avery left Schlesinger's over a disagreement. Spence provided animation for Avery's first three shorts at MGM, but soon moved over to the Hanna-Barbera unit. Spence's first Tom and Jerry credit was on "The Yankee Doodle Mouse" (1943), which received an Academy Award for Best Animated Short.

When MGM closed their animation division in 1958, Spence joined his former bosses at Hanna-Barbera. He provided animation for many animated television series, including Jonny Quest (1964), Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles (1966), and The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (1971).

In addition to his work for Hanna-Barbera, Spence also worked for Chuck Jones (1970's adaptation of Horton Hears a Who!), DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (Roland and Ratfink, the Ant and the Aardvark), and Ralph Bakshi (Coonskin, Wizards, and the 1978 animated version of The Lord of the Rings). Spence's last animation credit was on 1992's Tom and Jerry: The Movie.

Spence received the 1986 Winsor McCay Award from the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, for his lifetime contributions to the field of animation.

Spence died of a heart attack in Dallas, Texas.

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  1. [1] allmovie website. Last accessed 3/21/2007.

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