Olive Goil: Lillian Friedman Astor


This one is close to my heart, my dear readers and for reasons that will become crystal clear as I progress…

Today I sing the high praises of the great Lillian Friedman Astor, one of the very the first female studio animators – ever!

You know how I love a goil who turns expectation on its ear and who can do anything a man can – but better! I hate to say it but the Thirties animation world was not exactly “emancipated” but thanks to gals like Miss Astor, ground was set for equality to come.

Born in 1912 in the great Big Apple, she studied animation and fashion design and finally, in 1930, was hired by my family at Fleischer Studios as what is called “an inker”.

Miss Lilly, talented and charming as she was, was quickly promoted to an “in-betweener” which is a fancy and confounding name for the folks that redraw existing cartoon in motion.

But Lily didn’t stop there! The fabled tale is that she was “secretly” promoted to animator, a job gals just weren’t offered in the way back when. Lillian went on to animate the likes of Betty Boop and…also…the wonderful fabulous, little ol’ me!

So let’s doff our caps to sweet Miss Lily, who, with the stroke of a pen, pencil and paintbrush, cleared the way for women in the arts.


See below a photo of the lovely Lilly in action and  – amazing! – A cartoon she drew when her friend and co-worker Myron Waldman was out sick from the animation room!

Lillian Friedman Astor


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