While not a household name like Matt Groening, animation director David Silverman was arguably one of the most instrumental behind-the-scenes craftsmen of the perennial sitcom family "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ). Silverman was a struggling animator in the 1980s before the boom in feature film and primetime animation, and was on the verge of quitting the business altogether when he took a chance on a series of short bumpers about a dysfunctional cartoon family on "The Tracey Ullman Show" (Fox, 1987-1990). A key player in laying the ground rules for transforming Groening's two-dimensional drawings into characters that, for a time, were a pop culture phenomenon, Silverman also directed countless episodes during the first several seasons. After branching out to try his hand on other projects, including a co-directing stint on the feature hit "Monsters Inc." (2001) and consulting on "Ice Age" (2002), Silverman was brought back to fictional Springfield to direct the long-awaited feature, "The Simpsons Movie" (2007). But it was television that proved to be his bread and butter, as Silverman was the creator of other animated shows like "Cleghorne!" (The WB, 1995-96) and "The Wild Thornberrys" (Nickelodeon, 1998-2004), while also writing for "Dilbert" (UPN, 1998-2000) and the live-action "Undressed" (MTV, 1999-2002), making Silverman as versatile as he was talented.