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David Wise (1955-2020)

It has been announced that animation writer David Wise has passed away. You may not be familiar with the name, but you'll certainly be familiar with his work. Wise worked on many of the most popular animated series of the 1980s and 90s.

Wise was a child prodigy and produced several stop-motion and live-action shorts from the age of seven. At the age of 16 he decided to move away from filmmaking and into writing and wrote several science-fiction stories for anthologies. Not long after he landed his first television gig, writing for Star Trek: The Animated Series.  He went on to write for live-action series including Buck Rogers and Wonder Woman before returning to animation in the 80s.

His CV in animation reads like a list of the biggest series of the era: Transformers, He-Man, The Smurfs, Batman: the Animated Series, Chip 'N' Dale Rescue Rangers, My Little Pony and many more. His most influential work, however, came in 1987, when he was hired to develop a pilot series based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Alongside Fred Wolf, Wise was responsible for turning the original dark and satirical comics into the lighter-hearted kid-friendly TMNT that we know and love today. Wise co-wrote the original five-episode mini-series, and stayed on the series as a writer and story editor until the ninth season. In all, he wrote and story-edited over one hundred episodes of the series.

Wise was later CEO of Go! Media Entertainment between 2005 and 2010.  He also continued to write and his last produced credits were on Nickelodeon series Corn & Peg. He's also credited on an in-production animated feature Pet Robots.

Wise had a huge impact on many childhoods and his work probably also inspired future generations of animators, creators and writers. His work on the Turtles alone is enough to make him a legend, but his incredible filmography shows he was no one-trick-pony.

He'll be sorely missed, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.