World-renowned animation artist Gabor Csupo is the chairman and co-founder of Klasky Csupo, Inc., the entertainment industry’s leading independent animation company. A fiercely independent artist, Csupo is a Renaissance man, who, in addition to his film, TV and commercial animation career, is an acclaimed musician, the founder of two record labels, a noted restaurateur, a devoted father and an engaged member of the arts community in Los Angeles.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Gabor studied music for eight years and attended art school for four, before commencing his professional training in animation at Hungary’s famed Pannonia Studios in 1971. Leaving Communist Hungary in 1975 for artistic opportunities in the West, Csupo and four fellow artists and musicians escaped into Austria through a darkened train tunnel.
With few resources and no passport, he traveled first to West Germany, then to Denmark and ultimately to Stockholm Sweden. While employed there in the animation studio of a friend, Csupo contributed to the production of Sweden’s first animated feature. In 1978, he met and fell in love with an American graphic designer by the name of Arlene Klasky.
Having learned English in order to understand the lyrics of Frank Zappa, his favorite musician, Csupo moved to Hollywood in 1979 where he and Klasky were married. Seduced by Hollywood as a home to “dreamy artists,” Csupo’s first job in the U.S. was at the legendary Hanna Barbera Studios where he worked as an animator.
In 1981, Csupo and Klasky formed their own animation company, Klasky Csupo, in a spare room of their apartment. “We had a particular taste and a commitment to do something different,” Csupo says of their motivation.
Klasky Csupo moved into its first real office in 1983, expanding into motion graphics and live-action production. Over the next six years, Csupo presided over all aspects of the studio’s business, designing, supervising and animating commercials, company logos, TV station promos, motion picture trailers, on-air network promotions and industrial films.
Then, in 1988, Klasky Csupo was asked by director James L. Brooks top animate a cartoon strip called “The Simpsons” that was to be shown on “The Tracy Ullman Show.” The enormous success of those early bumpers led to its work on the series, which Klasky Csupo animated for the first three seasons of the show. For its efforts, Klasky Csupo garnered worldwide recognition and Emmy Awards two years in a row.
Continuing to break new ground, Csupo co-developed, produced and animated the phenomenally successful “Rugrats” series, the most popular children’s show in the United States. Enlarging Klasky Csupo’s roster of programming, Csupo produced and animated such distinguished series as “Duckman,” “Aaahhh!!! Real Monsters,” “Santo Bugito,” “Rocket Power,” “The Wild Thornberrys” and the latest Nickelodeon hit “As Told By Ginger.”
Tireless and inventive, Csupo has expanded Klasky Csupo’s product offerings to all areas of entertainment media. He launched Klasky Csupo Publishing and KACHEW! COMMERCIALS. In 1998, Csupo co-produced the company’s first venture into feature filmmaking, the enormously successful “The Rugrats Movie,” (the first non-Disney animated film to gross over $100million) as well as it’s hit sequel, “Rugrats in Paris: The Movie.”
As an expression of his life-long passion for music (he left Hungary with only his prized record collection!), Csupo founded the record labels Tone Casualties and Casual Tonalities in 1994. Both were dedicated to discovering new artists within the genre of ambient electronica and had over 100 releases distributed world wide. His involvement with the music division was all encompassing, ranging from artists relations and recording to jacket design and marketing.
Csupo’s artwork can be seen on the cover of the latest release by his idol and friend, the late Frank Zappa: “The Lost Episodes.”
Csupo has two sons and one daughter and lives in Los Angeles.