Genndy Tartakovsky (Геннадий Тартаковский (Gennadiy Tartakovskiy), born January 17, 1970) is an Emmy Award-winning Russian-born Jewish-American animator. His work is influenced heavily by American comic books, pop culture, and anime. He is best known for the television series Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars: Clone Wars.
Genndy Tartakovsky was born on January 17, 1970, in Moscow
to Jewish parents. His father, Boris, worked as a dentist for government officials and a Russian hockey team. His mother, Miriam, was an assistant principal at a school. He also has a brother, Alex, who is 2 years older and is currently a computer consultant in Chicago. Tartakovsky's family moved to the United States
when he was seven due to concerns about the effect of anti-Semitism
on their children's lives. Originally settling in Columbus, Ohio
the family later moved to Chicago
. He was greatly influenced by the comics he found there. The first book he bought was a Super Friends comic
at a 7-Eleven
Before coming to the United States, however, his family first moved to Italy, where he lived next to a German family. There, Tartakovsky says he was first drawn to art, inspired by a neighbor's daughter. Tartakovsky later commented, "I remember, I was horrible at it. For the life of me, I couldn't draw a circle."
Genndy began attending Chicago's Eugene Field Elementary School in the third grade. School was hard for him because he felt that everyone recognized him as a foreigner. He says he never fit in until he was a sophomore in high school. When he was 16, his father died of a heart attack. He felt that his father was very strict and was an old fashioned man, but Genndy's relationship with his father was very special to him. After the death of his father, Genndy and his family moved to government-funded housing, and he began working while still attending high school.
To satisfy his ambitious family, Genndy tried to take an advertising class, because they were encouraging him to be a businessman. However, he signed up late, and therefore did not have any choice over his classes. He was assigned to take an animation class, and this led to his study of film at Chicago's Columbia College before moving to Los Angeles to study animation at the California Institute of the Arts (with his friend, Robert Renzetti). It was at the California Institute of the Arts where Tartakovsky directed and animated two student films -- one of which became the basis for Dexter's Laboratory.
Reportedly, after two years at Cal Arts, Tartakovsky got a job in Spain
on Batman: The Animated Series
and The Critic
. While there, "he learned the trials of TV animation, labor intensive and cranking it out." Also, while in Spain, his mother died of cancer. Later, Tartakovsky worked at Hanna-Barbera
, drawing storyboards for the show 2 Stupid Dogs
Tartakovsky's work at Hanna-Barbera
showed his portfolio to Hanna-Barbera
and got the job art directing for the show 2 Stupid Dogs
. They asked him if he knew anyone else, and he responded, saying that he knew that Robert Renzetti and Genndy Tartakovsky would be right for the job. This was a major turning point in Tartakovsky's career. Hanna-Barbera let Tartakovsky, McCracken, Renzetti, and Paul Rudish
work in a trailer in the parking lot of the studio, and there, Tartakovsky started creating his best known works.
Tartakovsky is most well known for creating, writing, and directing the animated series Dexter's Laboratory
and Samurai Jack
. Dexter's Laboratory
grew out of a student film with the same title that he produced while at the California Institute of the Arts. Tartakovksy also co-wrote and pencilled the 25th issue of the Dexter's Laboratory
comic book series, titled "Stubble Trouble". Additionally, he helped produce The Powerpuff Girls
and has directed many episodes, serving as the animation director for The Powerpuff Girls Movie
. All three projects were nominated repeatedly for Emmy Awards
, with Samurai Jack
finally winning "Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour)" in 2004 (the same year he would win in the category for One Hour or More for Star Wars: Clone Wars
Star Wars creator George Lucas hired Tartakovsky to direct Star Wars: Clone Wars, a successful animated microseries depicting the Clone Wars, taking place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. The series has won three Emmy awards: two for "Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or More)" (in 2004 and 2005) and another for "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" (for background designer Justin Thompson in 2005). Tartakovsky has no plans to work on future Star Wars projects.
To date, Tartakovsky has amassed 12 Emmy nominations and three wins. He has also been nominated four times for Annie Awards, winning once for The Star Wars Clone Wars Volume 2 series.
Orphanage Animation Studios
Recently, Tartakovsky has been made creative president of The Orphanage
's Orphanage Animation Studios
, an animation studio fabricated of Lucasfilm
veterans. The company hopes to one day rival animation giant Pixar
, and believes that Tartakovsky can get them there. Their first feature will be the sequel to the 1982 classic The Dark Crystal
. It will be directed by Tartakovsky, is titled Power of the Dark Crystal
, and set to be released in 2009.
He has also been pitching a cartoon series of Stephen King
's The Dark Tower
. It is unknown how the recent Dark Tower comics
will affect the possibility of this projected series becoming a reality – whether the foray into an illustrated medium will pave the way for Genndy's animation, or if it will prove to be enough for King and the Grant publishing company.
Genndy recently helped create and directed animation on the pilot episode of Korgoth of Barbaria. The series was set for a complete first season on Adult Swim, scheduled to air in spring of 2007, but it has been delayed. It is unconfirmed if the series will continue or if Genndy will be involved if it does.
A Samurai Jack feature film will be produced by newly formed production company Frederator Films, and will be written and directed by Tartakovsky.
Tartakovsky and his wife, Dawn, have one son, Jacob.
- Genndy's Scrapbook (Samurai Jack Season 2 DVD, Disk 2)