Joseph David "Joe" Murray (born May 3, 1961) is an American animator, writer, illustrator, producer, director, and voice actor, best known as the creator of the Nickelodeon animated series Rocko's Modern Life and the Cartoon Network animated series Camp Lazlo. Born in San Jose, California, Murray was interested in a career in the arts when he was three. He credits his high school art teacher Mark Briggs with teaching him a lot about art. Murray was a political cartoonist for a newspaper, often targeting then President Jimmy Carter. As a young adult Murray was hired as a designer at an agency, where he invested his earnings from the production company into independent animated films. In 1981 at age 20, he founded his independent illustration production company, Joe Murray Studios, while he was still in college.
Later in 1992, Murray created his first animated color film, My Dog Zero, for which he was awarded a Student Academy Award. He decided to develop a television series titled Rocko's Modern Life for Nickelodeon. After pitching it to Nickelodeon, the company decided to create the concept. While creating the series, Murray hired comedian and actor Carlos Alazraqui to supply the voice for the character of Rocko. The series premiered on Nickelodeon on September 18, 1993, and ended on November 24, 1996, completing four seasons and 52 episodes. After Rocko's Modern Life Murray wanted to create another television series, this time for Cartoon Network. He created his second series Camp Lazlo as a pilot, where he served as the producer of that pilot. After Cartoon Network decided to create the show, Murray brought fellow Rocko cast members Carlos Alazraqui and Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) to voice the main characters Lazlo (Alazraqui) and Scoutmaster Lumpus (Kenny). The series first aired in 2005, and ended production in 2008, with five seasons and 65 episodes.
Murray is the winner of two Primetime Emmy Awards for Camp Lazlo (Outstanding Special Class – Short-Format Animated Programs) and Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming One Hour or More) for the TV film Camp Lazlo: Where's Lazlo?. He is currently working on the website KaboingTV, which is dedicated to animation. Murray is also a writer and illustrator and is the author of the book Creating Animated Cartoons with Character, which features animators about their careers in animated cartoons...
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