John R. Dilworth
Dilworth in 2014
John Dilworth

OccupationAnimator, actor, director, writer, storyboard artist, producer
Years active1982–present

John Dilworth is an American animator, actor, director, writer, storyboard artist, producer and the creator of the animated television series Courage the Cowardly Dog. His work has mainly appeared on PBS, CBS, Showtime, HBO, Fox, ABC, NBC, Arte, CBC Television, YTV, Teletoon, BBC Two, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV, among others.[1]

Early life

Dilworth attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts.


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Many of Dilworth's influences included Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, and Salvador Dalí, as well as Charlie Chaplin. Dilworth also had some contemporary influences as well, including Michael Sporn, as well as Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell; while not a narrative influence, it was influential just for sheer dynamics of action and technology. Some of the things that appeal to him the most are Miyazaki's Porco Rosso and My Neighbor Totoro, instilling a love of the mix between fantasy and innocence.


After graduation, Dilworth became an art director at Baldi, Bloom and Whelan Advertising, but continued to work on his own films in his spare time, providing much of his own funding.[2] His animated short, The Chicken from Outer Space, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996. Cartoon Network later commissioned Dilworth to turn the short into a series, which eventually became Courage the Cowardly Dog. Dilworth is the president of Stretch Films, a New York-based design and animation studio, which he founded in 1991. He also worked on the original opening for Nicktoons and for shows such as Doug, Rugrats, and My Life as a Teenage Robot, as well as the Disney animated series PB&J Otter. Dilworth created the series of nine animated shorts for Sesame Street based on his independent film, "Noodles & Nedd". "Nedd" is named after the author Nedd Willard, a mentor.

Dilworth's short Angry Cabaret was also featured in MTV's 1994 Animation Weekend. His breakout film was The Dirdy Birdy, which aired on MTV's Cartoon Sushi and on Comedy Central. He was animation consultant of Gumby: The Movie, and was also one of the directors of Drew Carey's Green Screen Show.

Dilworth appears in pixilation sequences in the 2013 animated short Subconscious Password by Chris Landreth.[3]

In 2017, Dilworth completed his latest animation, Goose in High Heels. The 22-minute animated short could be previously be viewed on his YouTube channel, Stretch Films; however, it currently is not available online for viewing.

Stretch Films

Stretch Films
TypeAnimation studio
FoundedJanuary 23, 1991
FounderJohn R. Dilworth
ProductsThe Dirdy Birdy
Courage the Cowardly Dog

Stretch Films, Inc. is a production company that was founded in 1991 by John R. Dilworth. It is best known for Courage the Cowardly Dog on Cartoon Network as well as the many short films screened all over the world.



  1. ^ "Life in Transition | Tribeca Film Festival". Tribeca Film. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  2. ^ Bob Miller (November 1999). "The Triumphant Independent". Archived from the original on 2012-04-30. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
  3. ^ Sarto, Dan (6 May 2013). "Chris Landreth Talks Subconscious Password". Animation World Network. Retrieved 4 July 2013.