Chuck Jones passed away on February 22, 2002. It doesn't seem possible that a decade has passed since then, for his spirit truly does live on, not only in each of you, but also in the hearts and minds of his three grandchildren, Valerie, Craig, and Todd.
Pictured from left: Craig Kausen, Linda Jones Clough, Valerie, and Todd Kausen at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Chuck Jones's Oscar® for his 1965 short animated film, "The Dot and the Line".
THOUGHTS ON THIS DAY...
From Valerie: People love Chuck Jones. In the decade that has passed since Chuck’s death, I have found myself getting to know (and love) him even more deeply. I have the great honor of working with the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity and witnessing innumerable people being inspired by Chuck’s work, his words, his philosophy, the memories of his kindness and humor.
I had the great pleasure of growing up with Chuck, being able to work with him closely for many years, to represent him in many situations over the years and be his only granddaughter.
It would seem that when someone leaves this world that the memory might fade, become less important over time, but Chuck’s influence is growing stronger. The importance of a heartfelt, humor-filled life is now more clear than ever. I am more inspired, connected and dedicated to a creative life and to the pursuit of my own soul’s contribution to this world and I know that this is because of Chuck and what is still alive in this world that he left for us.
People love Chuck Jones. It is a love affair that never seems to end. Chuck changed lives through his work, his encouragement or just by his deep love of living. He is still changing lives, ten years after his passing.
From Todd: Ten years seems like a long time in most situations, but for some reason, it does not feel very long when thinking back to when Chuck left us. When I was at the new Chuck Jones Experience in Las Vegas at the Circus Circus Hotel, I was filled with a feeling of missing him. It really is a great experience whether you knew him or not.
I'm so honored to be associated with him and his great legacy, albeit strictly through nepotism and certainly not through any kind of deserved place. However, as Chuck used to say, "Even if I don't deserve it, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it!" So on this day, I shall reflect on him, his legacy, his impact on me personally and be very grateful for the tiniest piece of his humor, wit and genius that somehow trickled into my blood and allows me to occasionally find the humor in this wacky journey of life. Thanks for that, Chief!
From Craig: It is quite startling for me to think that it has been 10 years since my Grandfather, Chuck, passed away. Not only do I recall that day quite vividly, just as I’m sure everyone who has had someone important to them leave, I reflect that now a fifth of my life has been without him here to be able to visit with, ask questions, and laugh with at dinners. The realization doesn’t quite seem to fit in the scheme of time for me. Perhaps it is that time is much more relative these days for me, or just that my memories of him within our lives are so ingrained. But in any case, I would describe my life as being almost completely with him and just a brief moment since without him. I’m sure that being around his persona, his name, and the memories of him recounted by so many on a regular basis bridges the gap of him not physically being here, but my own memories are as constant and as clear as they ever were.
On this day, 10 years later, still my fondest memories are the personal ones; the ones where he created a special moment when I was young(er) like jumping in the pool fully clothed when I learned to swim, or teaching me how to ride my bike, or telling me how special it was when my son was born. No matter what the memory is for me, each of them, when it includes Chuck, makes me smile.