Gábor Csupó (/ˈɡɑːbɔːr ˈtʃuːpoʊ/; Hungarian: [ˈɡaːbor ˈt͡ʃupoː]; born September 29, 1952) is a Hungarian animator, writer, director, producer and graphic designer. He is co-founder of the animation studio Klasky Csupo, which produced Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, As Told by Ginger, and All Grown Up!
Csupó was born in Budapest, Hungary, on September 29, 1952.
After four years at the Pannónia Filmstúdió animation studios, Csupó immigrated to the West in 1975. While working in Sweden he met Arlene Klasky, an American-born animator. The two subsequently started their own company, Klasky Csupo, which produced many popular animated television shows.
Before starting Klasky Csupo, he emigrated to the United States in the late 1970s and began working as an animator for Hanna-Barbera on a few shows such as Casper and the Angels, Scooby and Scrappy-Doo and The World's Greatest Super Friends.
Klasky Csupo animated the short cartoons about the Simpson family which appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show (1987–1989) and continued this role on the half-hour adaptation of the characters, entitled The Simpsons, for its first three seasons (1989–1992). Csupó was credited as "animation executive producer" and "supervising animation director". Klasky Csupo animator and colorist Gyorgyi Peluce conceived the idea of the Simpsons characters having yellow skin, and Marge Simpson having blue hair, opting for something which "didn't look like anything that had come before." Csupó liked the idea, although many of the show's producers at production company Gracie Films disapproved. He noted "everybody kept saying, 'You can't have people with yellow skin', and I said, 'Why not?'" Csupo successfully persuaded the producers and the show's creator Matt Groening to approve of the colors. Groening liked the idea, feeling that attempts to re-create human skintone on cartoons always appeared "freakish". Groening said of Csupó and Klasky, "What I love about them is their stuff looks like no one else." The character design of The Simpsons character Dr. Nick Riviera is based somewhat on Csupó. The show's animators mistakenly believed the character's voice actor, Hank Azaria, was impersonating Csupó, but Azaria said the voice was actually a "bad" imitation of Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy.
In 1992, Gracie Films switched domestic production of The Simpsons to Film Roman. Csupó was "asked [by Gracie Films] if they could bring in their own producer [to oversee the animation production]," but declined, stating "they wanted to tell me how to run my business." Sharon Bernstein of The Los Angeles Times wrote that "Gracie executives had been unhappy with the producer Csupo had assigned to The Simpsons and said the company also hoped to obtain better wages and working conditions for animators at Film Roman." "The Gracie statement to the Times was a bogus statement, as their action was for revenge and nothing else. All of my employees were better paid than anywhere else in the industry, and my producer did an excellent job. I stood up for my producer, (Sherry Gunther) because the only thing she did was asking Fox TV to pay for all of Gracie Films' changes after their approval of all aspects of production. Gracie Films did not like that their mistakes were revealed to the Network and demanded firing of an innocent hard working producer" -Csupo states. "Of course I refused to do that!" Of the 110 people he employed to animate The Simpsons, Csupó had to lay off 75. In the same year, Klasky Csupo went on to produce other shows for Viacom/Nickelodeon and USA Networks, and hired almost all of the laid off artists back plus hired about 500 more.
His record label, Tone Casualties, founded in 1994, released several industrial, noise, ambient and experimental music releases, including discs by Holger Czukay, Drew Neumann, Paul Schütze, Kuroi Mori, Borut Kržišnik, András Wahorn, Controlled Bleeding and his own works (sometimes under the pseudonym "Opus Crobag").
He also directed two live action films outside of Klasky Csupo - Bridge to Terabithia for Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, and The Secret of Moonacre for Warner Bros. and Lionsgate.
Csupó has six children (two of whom are from his business partner and ex-wife, Arlene Klasky), Jarrett, Brandon, Ruby, Bowie, Romeo and Kelcy Csupo. Csupó is a big fan of Frank Zappa and credits Zappa with helping him learn the English language. His collection of Zappa albums were the only items he took with him when he fled his native Hungary in the 1970s. When he worked on The Simpsons, he and Matt Groening, a fellow Zappa fanatic, tried unsuccessfully to persuade the series' producers to use Zappa's music on the show. Nonetheless, he was successful in securing the rights to Zappa's music for Duckman, and its first season contained songs from throughout Zappa's career including "Peaches en Regalia" and "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance."
In early 2006, Csupó bought a house in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.