Brief Biography from:
Ralph Bakshi (pronounced Back-Shee, not Bash-key) was born in Haifa (then part of the British mandate of Palestine) on October 29, 1938. When he was one year old, he traveled with his family to America and settled in Brownsville, New York, the seedy lower-income community that became the inspiration for the dark and gritty urban setting of many of his cartoons. World War II was about to break out; in fact, when traveling past the Mediterranean, the ship on which the Bakshis were sailing was boarded by Nazi troopers, but the ship's American affiliations prevented the incident from becoming hostile.
Bakshi became interested in cartooning when he encountered a book titled The Complete Guide to Cartooning by Gene Byrnes in the Brownsville public library (which he promptly stole), circa 1952. Despite being a poor student and disliked by his teachers, who considered him a talentless punk, Ralph was one of only 10 students of art who passed a drawing exam to enter Manhattan's School of Industrial Arts.
He got his start working for famed golden-age American cartoonist Paul Terry, a man who regarded cartoons as all business and no art, while mentoring under animators like Jim Tyer and Connie Rasinski. Bakshi's inventiveness, disregard for the rules, and all-around moxie eventually earned him a certain degree of prestige. He created the obscure comic strips Bonefoot & Fudge and Junktown, and launched some larger-scale animation projects like his animated film Wizards and The Mighty Heroes, which he pitched on the spot to CBS execs, making up the show as he went along.
Nowadays, Ralph Bakshi may be best remembered for his work on a film adaptation of Robert Crumb's risqué underground comic strip Fritz the Cat, which became the first American cartoon to be rated X by the MPAA, much to Bakshi's chagrin. He worked for the 1980s revival of the classic "Superman meets Mickey Mouse" cartoon, Mighty Mouse, which was later canned for getting too much crap past the radar (one of which was a scene of alleged cocaine use that freaked out the Moral Guardians). Despite the content and censor interference, the show was extremely influential on pretty much every animated series that followed it over the next decade, specifically The Ren & Stimpy Show.
Bakshi's filmography certainly does not stop there; he is also the creative mind behind such underground cartoon milestones as the animated version of The Lord of the Rings, the Cult Classic Fire and Ice, Heavy Traffic (a gritty, darkly humorous modern-day fable about urban violence), Coonskin (his highly controversial re-imagining of the tales of Uncle Remus, considered racist by many due largely to its "blackface" character designs, although the film is supportive of the black community and approved by the NAACP) and Cool World, a film he envisioned as the first animated horror film, but was radically changed by Paramount Pictures without Bakshi's consent and wound up as a sub-par imitation of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Also worth noting is that Bakshi also produced and directed Rocket Robin Hood and the second and third seasons of the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon. The latter varied in quality under Bakshi's tenure, although a lot of this was due to Executive Meddling. The suits continually cut both Bakshi's budget and his lead times, forcing him to continually reuse stock footage in the same way that Filmation later would. By the end, Bakshi was reduced to literally stitching together new episodes entirely out of stock footage-including lifting footage from Rocket Robin Hood.