Tom McLaughlin had a heart attack and died last night, riding his bike around Burbank.
I don't even know the guy that well. He had been working at Cosmic Toast studios for a little less than a year now. He was no big wig, no nice car or fancy pants, and he could be an abrasive a-hole, but he was our abrasive a-hole.
He's got quite an imdb page and worked on a number of my favorites when I was a kid.
And he said a lot of crazy crap... https://twitter.com/TomsCrazyTalk
But he brought a little bit of old school to us kids at Cosmic Toast and we're going to miss him.
If anyone out there knew him back in the day or has any stories it would be cool to hear them.
Bill DeAgro commented
Does anyone have a picture of the memorable Mural painting Tommy made on the wall of the Senior Lounge of Division Avenue HS ???
Tommy and I have been friends since we started surfing when we were 12. In 1976 Long Beach, Long Island was evacuated because Hurricane Belle was coming ashore. The only car on the parkway going to Long Beach was ours. It was huge and we were alone. Took us almost an hour just to paddle out. Took us awhile to get up the courage to take that first wave but, after we did it was insane. One of the best days of my life. We lost touch but I was so happy we started talking again a few years ago and got to meet Brenda, Chris, Shannon, and Brendan. He was so proud of his family and loved them deeply. Tommy traveled through life at 100 mph and left us all behind. He said what he meant with no malice. He was a great guy and friend and I will miss him. Rest in peace brother.
Kevin O'Brien commented
Along with KaraV, I knew him in NYC. I worked with him on The Jackie Bison Show doing long hours and then blowing off steam at nearby bars and clubs. I've got stories that will last a lifetime from that era. I learned a lot from Tom about animation, but I also learned that sometimes in life you just need to let loose and say or do something ballsy, even if it may get you in trouble. If your motivation comes from a good heart, as it did with Tom, it's the right thing to do.
Tom and I worked together in NYC in the 1980's and moved to LA around the same time. I have too many hilarious stories to share here, but let's just say I never once saw him down and he could always make me smile, no matter how miserable and depressed I was.
For all of you who were wondering how you can help Tom McLaughlin's family, I have just set up a fund for them after getting the approval from his wife Brenda. Bare minimum, please share this on your own Facebook page and encourage others to do the same. Also of course please give generously if only because imagine if this tragedy happened to your family. http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/fund-for-tom-mclaughlin-s-family/91393
The Tommy of my youth .. Funny, affectionate, incredibly talented, so sensitive, gorgeous, athletic , surfer, great son,, great brother... my first love
Tiffany DeMarco commented
I am literally speechless. There are no words to describe how sad I am for the loss of one of the most ambitious and caring individuals I've ever met. I had worked at the studio he worked for briefly and I needed someone with a truck to help me pick up a new dresser I bought. Tom was literally the only person I knew with a truck and he gladly offered up his services. I was a little apprehensive to take up his offer because well, if you knew Tom, he was sometimes a bit intense. However, I took up his offer anyway. He and I talked the whole ride there and back and I got to understand him a little bit more. He was the most genuine person I'd ever met. He might of said some crazy things but he meant every word. He loved his son and was passionate about the arts. I will always remember him telling me to never give up and that I was destined for big things. I wish I had one more moment to tell him that I appreciate his light and advice. The world definitely feels a little less bright...
A colleague just forwarded me a rare email from Tom. At the end, he signed off with his cell phone number and "7-24-365." That pretty much says it all.
Tom...I'm gonna miss your positive high energy here man. No matter the situation, you were able to look at life with the glass half full. And your sayings will always be LEGENDARY here at the studio.
John Maximilian Repka commented
A most memorable man; his stories, his thoughts and his actions. He has made me laugh, gasp and speechless, even without him being there. I am going to miss his amazing sayings and his off the wall comments. I am going to miss you Tom. I am so happy that I met you.
Chris Schwartz commented
He ran out in the middle of the night to get photo paper for an oil painting hanging over the site of Schwartzy & Pagana's consummated relationship. That's the kind of guy he was. The kind that would give you the shirt off his back, when all you asked for was the time. (He really did get confused a lot... )
I'll miss the hell out of him. RIP... and get RIP'd up in heaven, baby!
Though we hadn't stayed in contact after high school, my memories go back to elementary school and I remember his being a nice kid. Not a bully at all. He began drawing cartoons and sketches for his friends. Why is it always the good leave us and the imbeciles stay with us?
Was on the football and track team with Tom in High School. Always smiling happy and friendly. We fell out of touch after High scroll but he will be missed by lots of people. Bye Tom.
His dream was also to be a "cartoonist "! Not many of us actually reach that dream! God Bless you Tommy! Rest in Peace my friend!
I grew up with tommy he was always laughing and having fun. We use to shimmy up the poles at school to the roof and we would collect all the balls on the schools roof we were only 6. we always got into trouble. He also had a real batman mask and cape i was alway robin. He would jump right out of the tree like he was really batman it was too funny. He would come over my house and paint with my dad. My dad would teach him about art he was an artist himself. I could really write a book on tommy. we will all miss him so very much, We will meet again . Tom please watch over all of us. love you i consider you my brother/
I went to school w/ Tommy! He was funny, sweet, always had a smile & could make you smile even in the toughest of times! He was a friend even when he was wanting to be more! He put you first! Had a wonder smile that would warm your heart!
Tommy McLaughlin was one of the nicest guys, Always had a kind word and a smile to light up any room. super talented artist, with 30 years of work to his credit. Movie star good looks. A Jones Beach Life guard. Loved his family and I just still can not believe he is no longer walking on this earth. It has been years since I have seen him, but someone that always pops in my memory. He was also a great bartender back in the day at a Long Island popular bar we all worked at. Another friend, Gone but not forgotten.
Tommy loved working with all of you at Cosmic Toast, he thought so highly of all of you. If you are doing anything to acknowledge his talents please reach out. Would love to be a part of it.
Thank you, Laura ( Tommy's sister from ny)
Bailey Borders commented
I got into a hit and run a few months ago that ruined my car. I had managed to get the license plate number and I was working with Tom at the time. He knew I was really upset about it. He told me, in all seriousness, that all I had to do was give him the plates and he would find their address and light their car on fire for me- making sure there was no trail. He never did it, I didn't want a felony on either of our hands. But the fact that he was willing to commit arson just to stick up for someone he hardly knew goes to show how big his heart was. And the insane lengths he was willing to go to just to make sure you felt better.
I don't know if anything is going to come of this, but it would be cool if the animation world acknowledged animations working men and women. A guy works 30 years in the industry, he's no Lassater, no Chuck Jones, but he deserves to have something nice said about him in public when he passes one. Upvote this entry if you agree.