Leo D. Sullivan, whose animation of a chugging train graced the opening of television dance party Soul Train for decades, died March 25 in Los Angeles. He was 82 and died of heart failure at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, his wife Ethelyn Sullivan confirmed.
In addition to creating the memorable Soul Train opener, Sullivan contributed to cartoons featuring Fat Albert, Transformers and My Little Pony. He worked as an animator for five decades.
His resume included television work for The Incredible Hulk, Flash Gordon, BraveStarr and Scooby-Doo, his family said.
Born in Lockhart, Texas, Sullivan moved to Los Angeles in 1952, and started working for Looney Tunes animator Bob Clampett. In the 1960s, he joined forced with Floyd Norman, the first Black animator at Disney, and cofounded Vignette Film, which created educational films about historic Black figures.
He also published a video game that honored the Tuskegee Airmen and taught at the Art Institute of California-Orange County.
Sullivan was honored by the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1979 and 1991.
He is survived by his wife, Ethelyn Sullivan.