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Richard Williams was born in Toronto, Ontario. He attended Northern Secondary School for college and moved to London in 1955. He currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Imogen Sutton, and their two children.
He originally worked on live-action films, but had always been an artist. In 1971, he directed and co-produced (with Chuck Jones) A Christmas Carol. He would later direct and animate for Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1971). However his most recognizable work is his work as animation director in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988). Williams is also know for his personal project The Thief and the Cobbler, which was first released by Miramax in 1993 after over 40 years of pre-production. In this movie Williams was director, producer, writer, and lead animator.
He is well known for his rubbery animation style and that he animates "on the 1's," meaning that every frame is a unique drawing (where as most animation is "on the 2's" where every other frame has a different drawing). Williams published The Animator's Survival Kit in 2002, and it is a standard textbook in the animation industry.