Frederick Clinton "Fred" Quimby was an American film producer, best known as a producer of Tom and Jerry cartoons, for which he won seven Academy Awards. He was the producer in charge of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio, which included Tex Avery, Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Quimby was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and started his career as a journalist. In 1907, he managed a film theater in Missoula, Montana. Later, he worked at Pathé, and became a member of the board of directors before leaving in 1921 to become an independent producer. He was hired by Fox in 1924, and moved to MGM in 1927 to head its short features department. In 1937, he was assigned to create MGM's animation department.
In 1939, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera presented Quimby with a proposal for a series of cartoons featuring a cat and a mouse. Although he had no interest in the idea, Quimby approved, and the result was Puss Gets the Boot, which was nominated for an Academy Award. Initially, he refused to pursue more Cat and Mouse cartoons after Puss Gets the Boot. However, following the critical and financial success of that cartoon, he agreed to continue producing Tom and Jerry cartoons. As producer, Quimby became a repeated recipient of the Academy Award for Animated Short Film for the Tom and Jerry films, though he never invited Hanna and Barbera onstage when he accepted the awards. His name became well known due to its prominence in the cartoon credits. Quimby was not involved in the creative process and had a difficult relationship with animators, including Hanna and Barbera, who believed that Quimby was not fit for a real animation leader:
"...unfortunately for a cartoon producer, [he had] no sense of humor to call upon... He knew nothing of animation and cartoons were a strange thing to him. Cast in the role of high school principal opposite the animators' boyish enthusiasms, he acted as liaisons between them and the front office, usually it seemed, turning down requests for bigger budgets, raises and special dispensations of funds."
After the production of the short film Good Will to Men, Quimby retired from MGM in May 1955, with Hanna and Barbera assuming his role as co-heads of the studio and taking over the production title for the Tom and Jerry shorts. Despite the success with Hanna and Barbera, MGM assumed that re-releasing old cartoons would be more profitable, and the MGM's cartoon division did not last long after; it was closed in 1957.
Fred Quimby died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California on September 16, 1965 and was buried in Glendale.