Portland's Will Vinton, creator of famous Claymation characters, dies

Will Vinton. (Photo courtesy Will Vinton's family)

Will Vinton, the creator of some of the most beloved Claymation characters of the 1980s, like the California Raisins and the Domino’s Pizza Noid, has died.

He was 70 years old.

His family announced his death in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon.

They said he battled multiple myeloma, a cancer in white blood cells, for 12 years.

“We grieve heavily as our dad leaves a hole in our lives that will be impossible to fill,” they wrote in the post. “His wishes were for us to continue the projects he had started; we will try our best to do so.”

Vinton, who was born in McMinnville, has been called the Godfather of Portland animation, and last year he was the subject of the documentary “Welcome to My Daydream.”

Vinton built his animation studio from his basement into a multimillion dollar company, winning an OSCAR, Emmy and other awards along the way. Vinton eventually lost control of the company and was dismissed from the studio after Phil Knight (Nike) became a majority shareholder.

The company was reformed into Laika in 2005.

The family said a celebration of life will be held at No Vacancy Lounge at 235 S.W. 1st Avenue starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests remembrances should be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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