I am sorry to have to report the death of another of my childhood heroes. Tony Hart died on Sunday 18th January 2009, having previously suffered two strokes in previous years which had sadly robbed this great man of his ability to draw and paint, which in his own words was “the greatest cross I have to bare”.
Norman Antony Hart was born 15th October 1925, attending Clayesmore School in Dorset. On leaving school in 1944 he joined the Indian Army as an officer in the 1st Gurkha Rifles. In 1950 he returned to civilian life and studied at Maidstone College of Art. Upon graduating he became a freelance artist and also worked as a display artist for a London store.
His break into television came in 1952 after he met a children’s TV producer from the BBC at a party. He was initially hired as the resident artist on a programme called Saturday Special. This began his career as a television artist that spanned fifty years, working on such notable programmes as Vision On, Take Hart and Hart Beat. Â It is for Take Hart that I will always best remember Tony, along with his plasticene chum Morph.
Tony Hart leaves behind him a legacy that has inspired many a child to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush and create a work of art. Â His tips and tricks made an artist out of anybody, and for many children there would have been no greater joy than seeing their own creation appear on TV as part of The Gallery segment of one of Tony’s shows.
My sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of this wonderful, inspirational man.