Bill Plympton
Plympton at the SVA Theatre in Manhattan in September 2013
Born (1946-04-30) April 30, 1946 (age 75)
EducationPortland State University
School of Visual Arts
Known forAnimation
Notable work
Your Face, Guard Dog, The Tune, Cheatin'

Bill Plympton (born April 30, 1946)[1] is an American animator, graphic designer, cartoonist, and filmmaker best known for his 1987 Academy Awards-nominated animated short Your Face and his series of shorts featuring a dog character starting with 2004's Guard Dog.[2]

Early life

Plympton was born in Portland, Oregon, the son of Wilda Jean (Jerman) and Donald F. Plympton,[3][4] and was raised on a farm in nearby Oregon City[1] with five siblings: Sally, Tia, Peggy, David and Peter.[4] From 1964 to 1968, he studied Graphic Design at Portland State University, where he was a member of the film society and worked on the yearbook. In 1968, he transferred to the School of Visual Arts[3] in New York City, where he majored in cartooning. He graduated from SVA in 1969.[5]


Plympton's illustrations and cartoons have been published in The New York Times and the weekly newspaper The Village Voice, as well as in the magazines Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse, and National Lampoon. His political cartoon strip Plympton, which began in 1975 in the SoHo Weekly News, eventually was syndicated and appeared in over 20 newspapers.[6]

In 1988, his animated short Your Face was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. He also became known for other animated short films, including 25 Ways to Quit Smoking (1989) and Enemies (1991), the latter of which was part of the Animania series on MTV, where many of his other shorts were shown.[7]

In 1991, Plympton won the Prix Spécial du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival for Push Comes to Shove which was featured on MTV's animated series Liquid Television.[8] In 1992, his self-financed, first feature-length animated film, The Tune debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.[7] His work also appeared on the 1992–1993 Fox comedy series The Edge. In 1993, he made his first live action film, J. Lyle.

Bill and Sandrine Plympton in 2014
Bill and Sandrine Plympton in 2014

In 1995, he contributed animation and graphics to a computer game collection, Take Your Best Shot.[9] He also published a comic book in 2003, The Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton.

The actress Martha Plimpton, a distant relative of his,[10] served as associate producer on Plympton's animated feature Hair High (2004), doing much of the casting. The movie's voice cast included her father Keith Carradine and her uncle David Carradine.

Later works

Guard Dog (2004) was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. In 2005, Plympton animated a music video for Kanye West's "Heard 'Em Say" and the following year, he created the music video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Don't Download This Song". Plympton contributed animation to the 2006 History Channel series 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America, to illustrate the events of Shays' Rebellion. Together with other independent New York City animators, he has released two DVDs of animated shorts, both titled Avoid Eye Contact.

Plympton's 2008 80-minute feature, Idiots and Angels presented by Terry Gilliam, had no dialogue.[11][12] The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on 26 April 2008,[13]

In 2011, Alexia Anastasio completed a documentary on Plympton's life, Adventures In Plymptoons!,[14] released in September 2012 direct-to-DVD and on video-on-demand.[15]

In 2011, Plympton collaborated with child film critic Perry Chen on Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest, a 2011 short animated film directed by Kevin Sean Michaels, about actress and Holocaust survivor Ingrid Pitt.[16]

Plympton animated the opening couch gag for the Simpsons episodes "Beware My Cheating Bart" in 2012, "Black Eyed, Please" in 2013, "Married to the Blob" in 2014, "Lisa the Veterinarian" in 2016, "22 for 30" in 2017, "3 Scenes Plus a Tag from a Marriage" in 2018, and "Manger Things" in 2021; as well as the menus and packaging for the Season 19 DVD.

Plympton directed the segment "On Eating and Drinking" in the 2014 animated film The Prophet, adapted from Kahlil Gibran's book The Prophet. In 2018, Plympton created a series of videos for The New York Times called “Trump Bites”. One of the series, Trump and Putin: A Love Story, depicts Trump and Putin kissing half-naked. Critics said the video implied that gay relationships were inherently comical and immoral.[17]

In 2020, Plympton released a Kickstarter for his new animated comedy western, Slide. The funding was successful and Plympton plans on finishing the film by 2021.


A collection of more than 180 Plympton items is held at the Academy Film Archive.[18] The archive has preserved Plympton's films such as Your Face, The Tune, Guard Dog, and The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger.[19]

His films have featured in the Animation Show of Shows including Your Face, Guard Dog, Eat (2001), The Fan and the Flower (2005), and Santa: The Fascist Years (2009).[20][21][22][23][24]

Personal life

On December 23, 2011, Plympton married animator/artist/illustrator Sandrine Flament at his sister's house in Oregon.[25][26] Their son, Lucas, was born in September 2012.[1]


Plympton has stated he has many influences, the biggest being the work of the Walt Disney studio with others including Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Robert Crumb, Milton Glaser, Charles Addams, Roland Topor, Quentin Tarantino, Frank Capra, Richard Lester, Bob Godfrey, Saul Steinberg, Tomi Ungerer, Jacques Tati,[27] Milt Kahl,[28] Carlos Nine, and Jules Feiffer.[29] He said I Married a Strange Person! "was influenced by Peter Jackson, some of his earlier films ... where he used gore and violence and blood as humor."[30]



Animated features


Live-action features

Animated shorts

Source unless otherwise noted:[41][42]

Animated TV shorts

Compilations (DVD)

Music videos



  1. ^ a b c Lovece, Frank (October 23, 2012). "God of Indie Animation Bill Plympton at Gold Coast Film Fest". Film Festival Traveler. Archived from the original on February 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-10. Born April 30, 1946, in a Portland, Ore., hospital, Plympton grew up in a family of six kids on a farm in nearby Oregon City. ... [Plympton's son] Lucas [was] born about three weeks before this interview was conducted on Oct. 13, 2012....
  2. ^ Shout! Factory Announces Acquisition of Bill Plympton Library|Shout! Blog
  3. ^ a b "Biography". Plymptoons (official site). Archived from the original on 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
  4. ^ a b "Wilda Jean Plympton [obituary]". Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  5. ^ "[title n.a.]". Visual Arts Journal. School of Visual Arts. 19 (1): 13. Spring 2011.
  6. ^ "About Bill Plympton – Plymptoons". Retrieved 2018-12-03.
  7. ^ a b Frook, John Evan (May 21, 1992). "October Wins 'Tune' Rights". Daily Variety. p. 2.
  8. ^ "Bill Plympton". Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on October 29, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  9. ^ MobyGames: Take Your Best Shot, September 17, 2000
  10. ^ "Bill Plympton, Animator - Profile Interview Series Vol. #6". February 28, 2005. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  11. ^ Rizov, Vadim (October 28, 2010). "Sex, Death and Pragmatism: Bill Plympton's DIY cartoon cottage industry". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  12. ^ Jessen, Taylor (April 10, 2007). "Might Come Back From Dead Man's Curve: Bill Plympton's 'Hair High'". Animation World News. Archived from the original on June 14, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  13. ^ Tribeca Film Festival Film Guide Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Film Reviews - 'Adventures in Plymptoons!". Variety. November 1, 2011.
  15. ^ Zahed, Ramin (September 28, 2012). "A Good Time to Watch 'Adventures in Plymptoons!'". Animation Magazine.
  16. ^ "Wise Beyond His Years". Animation Magazine. February 2012.
  17. ^ "New York Times under fire for 'homophobic' cartoon of Trump and Putin". Reuters. July 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Bill Plympton Collection". Academy Film Archive. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  19. ^ "Preserved Projects". Academy Film Archive.
  20. ^ Animation Show of Shows
  21. ^ The Animation Show of Shows (Volume 44)
  22. ^ The Animation Show of Shows (Volume 20)
  23. ^ The Animation Show of Shows (Volume 23)
  24. ^ The Animation Show of Shows (Volume 11)
  25. ^ Beck, Jerry. "Congratulations Bill Plympton and Sandrine Flament". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  26. ^ Plympton, Bill (January 3, 2012). "What I did this Christmas". Scribble Junkies (Plympton official blog). Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  27. ^ Bill Plympton's Top 10|The Current|The Criterion Collection
  28. ^ HAND DRAWN: Extended Interview #3- Bill Plympton
  29. ^ Bill Plympton - 16 January 09-Part 2. One on One. Al Jazeera English. January 18, 2009. Event occurs at 06:57-07:46. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  30. ^ Bill Plympton - 16 January 09-Part 2 at 06:26.
  31. ^ "The 60th Academy Awards | 1988". | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  32. ^ "The Man Who Planted Trees Wins Animated Short: 1988 Oscars". Archived from the original on 2021-12-22.
  33. ^ PUSH COMES TO SHOVE - Festival de Cannes
  34. ^ Inkpot Award
  35. ^ "The 77th Academy Awards | 2005". Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  36. ^ Annie Awards - Winsor Mccay
  37. ^ "SLIFF 2011 Awards Major Filmmaker Awards". Archived from the original on October 26, 2011. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  38. ^ "2011 Awards: Our Honorees". Archived from the original on October 24, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  39. ^ "2011 Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Plympton" (PDF). Action on Film International Film Festival. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 9, 2011. Retrieved 2021-11-29.
  40. ^ "51st Gijon International Film Festival Awards". Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  41. ^ "Animated Shorts". Plymptoons (official site). Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  42. ^ SND Films
  43. ^ "Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award – 1984 -".
  44. ^ Godfrey, Leigh (December 10, 2001). "Bill Plympton's 12 Tiny Christmas Tales To Air On Cartoon Network". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 30, 2015.