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Will Vinton, Oscar-winning animator and claymation pioneer, dead at 70

PORTLAND, Ore. — Will Vinton, an Oscar-winning animator who coined the term “claymation,” has died at the age of 70.

His family announced the filmmaker’s death on Facebook.

Vinton had been battling multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in plasma cells, for about 12 years.

“He saw the world as an imaginative playground full of fantasy, joy, and character. He instilled in us the greatest values of creativity, strength, and pride in ones own work,” his family wrote.

Vinton trademarked the term “claymation” and created popular commercial creations, such as the fictional musical group The California Raisins and the Domino’s Pizza’s character The Noid character in the 1980s.

The California Raisins became such a phenomenon, they starred in several television specials, such as “Meet the Raisins” and “The Raisins Sold Out.”

I n 1978, Vinton founded the Will Vinton Studios, a stop-motion animation studio that specialized in short films, commercials and feature films.

By the mid ’90s, Vinton began to incorporate computer animation to his creations, which was most visible in his M&M’s character commercials.

The studio was later succeeded by Laika Entertainment in 2005.

Vinton’s family hopes to continue Vinton’s projects, hoping to “honor him in our own work and strive to always embody his lessons. We ask that his passing be a celebration of his life and work.”