Hank Durand Saroyan, the Emmy-winning animation director and producer for “Muppet Babies,” died Sept. 23 of multiple myeloma cancer. He was 75.
He was born in Alameda, California to Dorothy Saroyan and Henry Saroyan, brother of author William Saroyan. Hank Saroyan graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in veterinary medicine and began his career as a stunt writer on the “Holiday Play” broadcast from KGO/ABC in San Francisco.
Before moving into animation, he moved into writing and producing at Dick Clark Productions, where he worked for Hanna Barbera and Marvel Productions. As a story editor, he was a member of the Emmy-winning “Muppet Babies” team. In addition to writing 17 episodes of the Jim Henson series, he also composed music and served as an executive producer.
He also won a directing Emmy for his uncle William Saroyan’s short story “The Parsley Garden” for ABC. Narrated by James Earl Jones, the special stars Tom Bosley and Adrian Barbeau and is about an Armenian American boy in 1930s Fresno who wants to make a garden bench for his mother.
“He was known for his creativity and unashamedly fun-loving approach to work and life. Hank loved animals – he was an advocate, protector and carer. His son Jason wrote in his obituary, ‘He had endless stories to tell and a knack for decorating and was always more than any kind.’ He could relate to any type of audience.. He will be remembered by many for many years.
Additional writing and story credits include the 1980s “Dungeons & Dragons” series, “Fievel’s Adventures in the West,” “Trollkins” and “Rude Dog and the Dweebs.”
He is survived by his son Jason, two grandsons and two nieces.
Donations may be made to the ASPCA or the HealthWell Foundation.