For decades now, Nickelodeon has been as one of the chief destinations of children’s entertainment, with two of the cable channel’s most popular showed over the years including Spongebob Squarepants and Hey Arnold!. Animator Tuck Tucker was a key contributor to both of those shows, but sadly, it’s been revealed that he’s passed away on December 22 at the age of 59.
No cause of death was given for Tuck Tucker, but his passing was announced by his brother, Bailey Tucker, who shared the following on Facebook:
It is with a heavy and broken heart that the Tucker family announces the death of Tuck Tucker, father, husband, son, brother, and uncle. We know he was loved by all of those whom he met. In lieu of visitations, if you have memories of Tuck you would like to share on his timeline, the family would greatly appreciate reading them.
Born in 1961 as William Osborne Tucker III, Tuck Tucker kicked off his animation career as a breakdown artist on 1987’s Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night. Shortly thereafter Tucker worked as a breakdown and in-between artist on 1989’s The Little Mermaid, the movie that launched the Disney Renaissance period. Tucker’s early professional years also included work on ALF and The Simpsons.
However, it was on Nickelodeon where Tuck Tucker shined brightest, which began when he was hired as a character layout artist for Rugrats, and he later served as a storyboard artist and assistant director during the show’s formative years. Tucker’s other early Nickelodeon work included The Red and Stimpy Show and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, but when 1996 rolled around, the majority of his attention was focused as the creative director of Hey Arnold!, among various other responsibilities. Tucker also directed 2002’s Hey Arnold!: The Movie, which served as the show’s finale until Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie finally arrived in 2017.
Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett took to Instagram to pay tribute to Tuck Tucker shortly after his passing. In Bartlett’s words:
A great friend, a master draftsman, a tireless practical joker, a brilliant storyteller, the first one I reached out to when I began Hey Arnold! because he was the best board guy I had ever met. I’ll always remember him at his drawing board, arms blackened to the elbows with graphite, eraser shavings everywhere, bringing my characters to life. A killer work ethic, passionately into it. I’m so lucky I got to work with him for so many years. He gave and gave. I miss him already, my heart is broken. Rest in power, Tuck Tucker.
Tuck Tucker’s time in the world of Spongebob Squarepants began when he was a storyboard artist on The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. From there, he worked on the main show from 2006 to 2014 chiefly as its supervising storyboard director. During his tenure on Spongebob Squarepants, Tucker won a 2011 Annie Award for Outstanding Music in a Television Production, which he shared with Jeremy Wakefield, Sage Guyton and Nick Carr.
Tuck Tucker’s final projects at Nickelodeon included The Fairly Oddparents, Clarence and All Hail King Julien, and his last credit was being a storyboard revisionist for Bob’s Burgers: The Movie, which is set to arrive next April. We here at CinemaBlend express our condolences to Tucker’s family and friends. Feel free to share any fond memories you have for his body of work in the comments below.