Nenagh connection with Warner Brothers cartoon creator
Nenagh has an ancestral link to the man credited with creating some of Warner Brothers' most enduring cartoon icons, including Bugs Bunny.
Gifted artist Bob Clampett's father was a Nenagh man who emigrated to the United States in the nineteenth century at the age of 2. One of the pioneers of American animation, Clampett (1913-1984) created the Porky Pig character before co-creating the likes of Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird for Warner’s Looney Tunes in the 1930s and '40s.
It turns out that Clampett's father was a Robert Caleb Clampett, born in Nenagh on October 23rd 1882. And Robert Caleb's mother was a Margaret Dagg.
The revelation was recently made when Bob Clampett's granddaughter visited EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin. She got talking to the museum’s curator Nathan Mannion, who saw the relevance in highlighting the famed cartoonist's Tipperary connection.
Bob's granddaughter Cheri Clampett said the Nenagh ancestor was brought to the US by his mother in 1884. It is possible that his father emigrated with him, though that is not clear as Robert Caleb's father does not have a death certificate on record in Nenagh; he may have died on the boat.
The father was a Robert Daniel Clampett and he is listed as a shopkeeper in Nenagh at the time of Robert Caleb's birth. The mother was Margaret Dagg and, as Cheri pointed out, “while other Clampetts are a bit hard to find in the genealogy research, there are a great many Daggs in Tipperary!”
Ms Clampett said the family is still trying to fill in the pieces of Robert Caleb's earlier years. The Nenagh native is known to have been an avid racquetball player with Los Angeles Athletic Club in the 1930s. He was also friends with the famous silent comedian Harold Lloyd.
Born near Hollywood in 1913, his son Bob Clampett was still in his teens when he designed the first Mickey Mouse merchandise doll for Walt Disney. In 1935 he created a fat little pig named Porky, Warner Brothers' first cartoon star.
Thereafter, Clampett worked with Tex Avery on the creation of Daffy Duck and the biggest ever Warner star, Bugs Bunny. In 1937 Clampett was promoted to director and for the next nine years he directed some of funniest, wildest, and most memorable Warner Brothers cartoons.
In 1942 he introduced another cartoon legend, Tweety. Clampett continued making award-winning children's programmes right into the 1960s.