Martha Sigall, an energetic longtime Culver City resident began her career in animation in 1936 as an apprentice painter with Leon Schlesinger Productions, which was located at Warner Bros. on Sunset Boulevard. She took part in the development of characters like Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Tweety. Martha went from “journeyman painter” to “inker,” tracing cartoon characters. From 1943 to the end of WWII, she worked at Graphic Films as a camera assistant on U.S. Navy training films. She met Sol in 1944.
At the end of the war, they married and Martha worked locally at MGM in the Cartoon Unit on Overland Avenue, while Sol attended UCLA on the G.I. Bill. Martha continued inking cartoons like “Tom and Jerry” for Hanna-Barbera. Martha and Sol moved to Culver City in 1949 and Martha took a “hiatus” to raise their babies, then arranged to freelance from home while the boys were young. Bob and Lee attended Culver City Schools.
Martha’s lifetime commitment to “the industry” included serving with Sol as docents in their retirement at Warner Bros. Martha received the prestigious “Annie Award” in 2004. She wrote her book, Living Life Inside the Lines: Tales From The Golden Age of Animation, and of course the Sigalls gave freely as Culver City Historical Society members, serving as co-chairs most recently of the Museum/Archives. Martha loved children, so contributing to the Farragut Elementary School Art Program was a joy for her. She and Sol spent days working to identify hundreds of movie photos for the society using production numbers. We know we were very lucky to enjoy Martha and Sol and benefit from their generosity. To remember Sol and Martha, we have the Sigalls’ Comcast interview scheduled to air in the Society Archives on Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 1:30 PM.
See some videos of Martha talking about her animation career on our YouTube channel.