Russia's King of Cartooning, Arkady Khait, Dies at Age 63

One of Russia's best-known animators, Arkady Khait, died Monday in Munich, Germany, of a heart attack. He was 63.

He was the author of such satirical cartoons as "Nu Pogodi!," (Well, Wait a Minute!) and "Priklucheniya kota Leonolda" (The Adventures of Leonolda the Cat), which debuted in the 1960s and remain popular today.

Khait had long suffered from a malignant tumor of the lymphatic node, which caused his heart attack, Itar-Tass reported.

Gennady Khazanov, an actor and his longtime friend, in an interview in the newspaper Segodnya, said that recently Khait had been feeling better and making future plans, including a trip to the United States.

Referring to Khait as the master of his genre, Khazanov said that "to preserve, in our lives, the art of carefree laughter f that weeds out the chosen ones. And Khait was one of those rare, happy people who possessed a God-given humor."

Khazanov studied with Khait in the late 1960s. "In the whole world there was never a person with whom it was so easy to play creative ping-pong, and funny things would be born out of the most common words," he said.

Khait will be best remembered for "Nu, Pogodi!," which highlighted the bizarre adventures of "Volk and Zaits" f the folk-lore wolf and hare.

The newspaper Kommersant said Khait's contributions to Russian culture were as significant as the contribution The Beatles made to music worldwide.