Maurice Sendak, one of the most influential children’s artists of the 20th century, sadly has passed away at the age of 83 after a short illness. His most famous work, Where the Wild Things Are was published in 1963, and inspired an animated short directed by Gene Deitch. Many of his books were turned into TV and feature projects over the years.
Born in Brooklyn, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, Sendak was exposed to death and mortality at an early age because of The Holocaust. After watching Walt Disney's Fantasia at the age of 12, he decided to become an illustrator, and the first of his efforts was published in 1947, after which he spent much of the 1950s illustrating children's books written by others, before beginning to write his own stories.
He gained international acclaim after writing and illustrating Where the Wild Things Are. The book's depictions of fanged monsters concerned some parents when it was first published, as his characters were somewhat grotesque in appearance, and In the Night Kitchen, caused much controversy in several American states - and has often been subjected to censorship - for its drawings of a young boy prancing naked through the story. It was listed number 21 on the "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999."
An early member of the National Board of Advisors of the Children's Television Workshop during the development stages of the Sesame Street television series, Sendak adapted his book Bumble Ardy into an animated sequence for the series, with Jim Henson as the voice of Bumble Ardy.