Friday, August 10, 2012

Ty Bosco, Rest in Peace

Australian animator Ty Bosco was found dead in his home last week.  In a career spanning 35 years, he cranked out miles of TV animation for Hanna-Barbera and Disney TV Animation.  He was a bear of a man, with long, unkempt hair rolling wildly past  round shoulders. He lumbered along with knees slightly bent and sweat on his brow, making himself seem heavier than he probably was.  But he was heavy.  And he was always dressed in black.

Ty Bosco living large, with Serena Geddes, left.   Photo courtesy of Serena.  
I first encountered Ty in 1994, at the Kippax Street studio of Walt Disney TV Animation Australia; specifically, in the Men's room.  I was sent to Sydney to direct the finale sequence for Kevin Lima's A Goofy Movie.  Newly arrived and slightly disoriented,  I found myself among the lunchtime crush in the studio's cramped restroom.  As I was washing my hands the door sprang open, indifferent to whether anyone was standing behind it. Filling the doorframe was The Man - Bosco.  He had the appearance of Jerry Garcia's large biker brother. He was mumbling to himself.  Or was he mumbling to me?  He did not look friendly, and I squeezed aside to let him into the bathroom stall.

Moments later, grunts and moans began to emanate from the stall. The animators laughed and hurled insults.  A few MORE animators walked in. (The room was starting to resemble a Marx Bros sketch.) Ty amped up the volume from the stall, "Ayyyyy, there you are." he said. "Look at that. Hmmm. A fine specimen."  The room erupted in hoots and howls. The more they laughed, the further he went with it.  He thrived on making people laugh, often at his own expense.

I would talk to Ty often over the next six months, usually at the Aurora pub on Friday afternoons, where he had a "schoo-ey" of ale waiting for me.   He would go for lunch and still be there when work let out.  He was a very kind hearted man, and there was some sadness there that fueled his humor. He did not take care of himself, and consequently had chronic health problems.

Mention the name Ty Bosco to an Australian animator, and they'll grin from ear to ear.  Ty wasn't the life of the party, he was the party.  And while he does not dwell in the pantheon of animation gods, he is surely entertaining them in the pub across the street from it.

Director Ian Harrowell worked with Ty for many years, and recalls Ty phoning after Ian had surgery,  "Ty was amazing for my wife, Gina. He rang when things were pretty shitty...I heard Gina PISSING herself on the phone....possibly literally... SO HEALING!
Spoke with him about a month ago...seemed to be happy, now on the dole (retired). Very happy the Swans (Sydney rugby team) were winning big time.  Love you, Mr. Bosco."

Illustrator Serena Geddes, pictured above with Ty at a studio party, said, "I think Ty's passing had more affect on us than we could possibly have imagined. Without realizing it, he has brought a lot of us back together. He was the soul of Disney, more memorable than anyone else there and most loved, when he kept his wandering hands to him self 
that is."

The artists from Disney Australia have set up a Ty Bosco Tributes page on Facebook.  Read more about him and watch some hilarious videos.  

It has been seventeen years since I last spoke to Ty, and yet his death still stings. He was, as the Aussie's say, "A good bloke."