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Famous Disney Animators

James Algar, animator on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and an animation director on "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" ("Fantasia") and sequences of "Bambi" and "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad".

Ken Anderson, art director on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"; character designer Shere Khan in "The Jungle Book" and Elliott in "Pete's Dragon"; and production designer on such films as "Sleeping Beauty", "101 Dalmatians", and "The Aristocats".

Tony Anselmo, joined Disney as an animator, but became the voice of Donald Duck after the death on Clarence Nash, the original voice of the character.

Sam Armstrong, storyman and background artists from 1934 to 1941, director on "Fantasia".

Xavier "X" Atencio, inbetweener and assistant animator on "Fantasia".

Art Babbitt, animator of the Wicked Queen from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", Geppetto in "Pinocchio", the stork in "Dumbo", and the mushrooms in "The Nutcracker Suite" segment in the "Fantasia".

Carl Barks, started at Disney as an inbetweener and worked on the story crew for many cartoon shorts. His most famous creation is Uncle Scrooge and is well known as a Disney comic book artist. Barks retired in 1966. He died at the age of 99, Summer 2000.

Don Bluth, assistant animator on "Sleeping Beauty", animator on "Robin Hood" and "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too", and was a directing animator on "The Rescuers". He left the Studio to form his own animation studio.

Stuart Buchanan, Disney animation staff member who voiced the Huntsman in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs".

Tim Burton, hired on by Disney to be part of the concept staff on "The Black Cauldron". Also made a few short films while with the company, including "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie".

Les Clark, known as one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". He specialized in animating Mickey Mouse and later worked on directing educational films.

Ron Clements, assistant and an animator on "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too", "The Rescuers", "Pete's Dragon", "The Fox and the Hound", and "The Black Cauldron". He directed, with John Musker, "The Great Mouse Detective", "The Little Mermaid", and "Aladdin".

Claude Coats, background painter, who worked on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Fantasia", "Dumbo", "Saludos Amigos", "Make Mine Music", "Lady and the Tramp", "Cinderella", and "Peter Pan".

Pinto Colvig, storyman at the Disney Studios and was the original voice of Goofy.

Marc Davis, known as one of Disney's Nine Old Men. Animator on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and character designer of Young Bambi and Thumper. Also known for animating such female characters as Cinderella, Tinker Bell, and Cruella de Vil. Davis died in January, 2000.

Andreas Deja, began at Disney as a conceptual artist for "The Black Cauldron", also animated Mickey Mouse in "The Prince and the Pauper", and was supervising animator on Gaston ("Beauty and the Beast"), Jafar ("Aladdin"), and Scar ("The Lion King").

Eyvind Earle, background artist and color stylist on such films as "Peter Pan" and "Lady and the Tramp". He is also credited with giving the 1959 animated feature "Sleeping Beauty" its medieval look.. Earle first rose to prominence at the studio in 1953, when an animated short that he worked on, "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom", won both an Academy Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. Earle died on July 20, 2000 of esophageal cancer.

Norm Ferguson, directing animator on such films from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to "Peter Pan". He was responsible for the witch in "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and Honest John and Gideon in "Pinocchio", and was known for his animation of Pluto.

Andy Gaskill, art director for "The Lion King".

Blaine Gibson, inbetweener and assistant animator working on most features through "101 Dalmatians".

Joe Grant, character designer and storyman at Disney during the early years of the Studios. He worked on such films as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Fantasia", "Saludos Amigos", "Make Mine Music", and "Alice in Wonderland". He returned to working at the Studio to work on the visual development on "Beauty on the Beast" and was a story adviser on "Pocahontas".

Don Griffith, layout artist for animated features from "Victory Through Air Power" through "The Black Cauldron".

Don Hahn, began working for Disney on "Pete's Dragon". He also worked as associate producer on the animated sequences in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", and later produced "Beauty and the Beast", "The Lion King", "Fantasia/2000", "The Emperor's New Groove" and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire".

David Hall, storyman, who produced story sketches and paintings for "Alice in Wonderland", and a few for "Peter Pan".

Dave Hand, animator on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Bambi" and many other films and cartoon shorts.

Jack Hannah, began working as an inbetweener and clean-up artist on many early Mickey, Donald, and Silly Symphony cartoons. He was a key animator on the Academy Award winning film "The Old Mill".

T(hornton) Hee, worked for Disney has a caricaturist, stylist, director, and storyman. He co-directed the "Dance of the Hours" segment of "Fantasia", directed the Honest John and Gideon sequence in "Pinocchio", and worked on story on "Make Mine Music".

John Hench, started in the Disney Story Department and later painted backgrounds for "The Nutcracker Suite" segment of "Fantasia". He also worked on "Cinderella" and "Alice in Wonderland".

Mark Henn, animated Mickey Mouse in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and worked on Oliver and the Artful Dodger in "Oliver & Company". In 1989 he moved to Florida to help establish the feature animation studio there. He animated Ariel in "The Little Mermaid", Belle in "Beauty and the Beast", and young Simba in "The Lion King".

Dick Huemer, was a story director on "Fantasia", and worked on story on "Dumbo", "Saludos Amigos", "Make Mine Music", and "Alice in Wonderland".

Ub Iwerks, animator and special effects artist. Iwerks helped Disney in the creation of the Mickey The Ub Iwerks StoryMouse character. Iwerks animated the Mickey Mouse film "Plane Crazy" all by himself and is renowned for drawing 700 drawings in a day, which is seven times the amount of drawings a current Disney animator produces in a week. He animated most of the Mickey Mouse cartoon and also painted the backgrounds and drew the posters. Iwerks also invented a multihead optical printer, used to combine live action and animation in "Melody Time" and "Song of the South". He also modified the Xerox process transfer pencil animation to cel without hand inking. Two Academy Award were won by Ub Iwerks, for designing an improved optical printer for special effects and for collaborating on the perfection of color traveling matte photography.

Ollie Johnston, known as one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". He worked on 24 animated features beginning with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", many as directing animator.

Bill Justice, animator on "Fantasia", "Bambi", "Alice in Wonderland", "Peter Pan" and others. He developed characters such as Thumper and Chip and Dale.

Milt Kahl, known as one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". A directing animator on such films as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Sleeping Beauty", "The Jungle Book" and "The Rescuers".

Glen Keane, began his career as an animator on "The Rescuers". He animated the fight scene with the bear in "The Fox and the Hound", and was directing animator on Ariel in "The Little Mermaid", Beast in "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", "Pocahontas", and "Tarzan".

Walt Kelly, he specialized in animation of Mickey Mouse. He started as a storyman, did some animation on "The Pastoral" sequence of "Fantasia". He animated on "The Reluctant Dragon" and "Dumbo". He is also known for his character of Pogo.

Ward Kimball, known as one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". He was an animated on "Pinocchio" (created the character of Jiminy Cricket), "Dumbo", and "The Three Caballeros".

Jack King, animator and sequence director on such films as "Pinocchio", "Saludes Amigos", "Dumbo", "The Three Caballeros", "Make Mine Make", "Melody Time", and "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad".

Jack Kinney, animator/sequence director of films such as "Pinocchio" and "Dumbo". He first directed Goofy in "Goofy's Glider" and soon became established as the director of the Goofy cartoons.

Eric Larson, known as one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". Larson began his career at Disney, as an animator or directing animator on such films as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Bambi", "Cinderella", "The Jungle Book", and "The Great Mouse Detective". With his talent and skills, Larson became a trainer and mentor to many of the new animators that came to work with the Studios in the 1970's.

John Lounsberry, known as one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". Lounsberry began his career at Disney as an animator on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". He also worked as an animator and directing animator on such features as "Pinocchio", "Peter Pan", "Lady and the Tramp", and "The Rescuers".

Dan MacManus, effects animator, working on most of the Disney features during the period between 1935 until 1973.

Rob Minkoff, began his career in the Studios as an inbetweener on "The Black Cauldron", he helped design the character of Basil in "The Great Mouse Detective" and Ursula in "The Little Mermaid". He is associated with the character Roger Rabbit as the director of "Tummy Trouble" and "Roller Coaster Rabbit" and co-producer of "Trail Mix-up". He directed "The Lion King" with Roger Allers.

Fred Moore, animator on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and credited with updating Mickey Mouse's appearance in the late 1930s. Moore also served as an animator or directing animator for most of the animated features from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to "Peter Pan".

John Musker, began his career at Disney as an animator on such films as "The Small One", "The Fox and the Hound" and "The Black Cauldron". He co-directed with Ron Clements, "The Great Mouse Detective", "The Little Mermaid", and "Aladdin".

Grim Natwick, was known for designing Betty Boop before joining the Disney Studios. He specialized in the development of female characters, including animating Snow White.

Charles "Nick" Nichols, animation director of shorts and television shows. He began as an animator on the shorts and had most of the responsibility on the Pluto cartoons. He animated the coachman in "Pinocchio".

Kay Nielsen, sketch artist, storyman, and designer. Nielsen created designs for "The Night on Bald Mountain" segment in "Fantasia". During the 1940s, he worked on concept designs for "The Little Mermaid" and "Ride of the Valkyries". In the mid-1980s, his sketches were brought out of the Disney Archives to inspire the animators who worked on 1989's "The Little Mermaid".

Ken O'Brien, animator on features from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" to "Sleeping Beauty".

Ken O'Connor, layout artist on 13 features and 100 shorts. Features including "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Fantasia", and "Lady and the Tramp". After a short retirement, O'Connor returned to Disney to help develop shows such as World of Motion and Universe of Energy at EPCOT, and the film Back to Neverland for the Animation Tour at the Disney/ MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida.

Dave Pruiksma, animator of Mrs. Potts in "Beauty and the Beast".

Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman, one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". Director of such features as "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Sword in the Stone". After Disney's death in 1966, Reitherman took over producing and director of all of the animated features until his retirement in 1980.

Ben Sharpsteen, was a sequence director on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", supervising co-director on "Pinocchio", supervising director on "Dumbo", production supervisor on "Fantasia", "Fun and Fancy Free", "Cinderella", and "Alice in Wonderland".

Webb Smith, storyman, he is credited with coming up with the idea of the storyboards.

Dan St. Pierre,

Frank Thomas, known as one of Disney's "Nine Old Men". Animator on such features as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", 18 other features up to "The Fox and the Hound". Currently works with friend and fellow animator Ollie Johnston, on books about Disney Animation and both were featured in a film called "Frank and Ollie".

Gary Trousdale made his feature-directing debut with the Academy Award©-winning "Beauty and the Beast". Trousdale has been with Feature Animation since 1984, and has contributed to the following films, "Oliver & Company", "The Little Mermaid", and "The Rescuers Down Under". Co-directed with Kirk Wise on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire".

Kirk Wise received his first feature-directing credit on the Academy Award©-winning "Beauty and the Beast" adn in 1996 re-teamed with Don Hahn and Gary Trousdale on "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", and has contributed to the following films, "The Great Mouse Detective", "Oliver & Company", and "Atlantis: The Lost Empire".


Past and Present Head Members of Walt Disney Feature Animation.

Roy Edward Disney, son of Roy O. Disney and nephew to Walt Disney. Became Vice Chairman of the Walt Disney Company Board and head of the animation department in 1984.

Walter Elias Disney, along with his brother Roy O, began the Walt Disney Studios to produce and created cartoon shorts featuring characters of the Disney Studios. The Disney Studios produced and created the first ever fully animated feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". Other firsts in the film world were, the first synchronized sound cartoon, the first use of the storyboard, the first full color cartoon, the first stereophonic theater installations with Fantasound, the first CinemaScope cartoon, the first use of the Xerox process to assist in the animation process, and the first 3D cartoon. Disney also developed the Multiplan Camera, first used in "The Old Mill". This gave the feel of depth to an animated film, simply using layers of backgrounds on painted glass. This processed was used on such features as "Pinocchio", "Fantasia", and "Bambi". Disney helped director and produce most of the films that came from the Disney Studios, until his death in 1966. "The Jungle Book" was the last feature he personally supervised, but did not see the entire film finished.

Richard Berger, served as the first president of the new company division named Walt Disney Pictures for two years beginning in 1982. Berger left when Jeffrey Katzenberg was brought in as chairman of Walt Disney Pictures.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios from 1984 to 1994. Katzenberg helped develop such Disney features as "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", and "The Lion King".

Joe Roth, was named Chairman of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group in 1994 on the resignation of Katzenberg.

Peter Schneider, named President of Feature Animation in 1992, he had joined Disney in 1985 as Vice President of Feature Animation.

Pam Coats, Vice President of Feature Animation, she received a BFA degree in acting from Utah State University and a MFA in directing from the University of Oregon. She moved to Los Angeles, CA, in 1984 and became involved with Equity Waiver Productions. She was offered by two different people to fill the production assistant job at Disney. In 1989 she joined, and worked as the assistant production manager of backgrounds, animation check, and color models for "The Rescuers Down Under". She played a key role in the development of "Mulan", keeping it on course throughout it's five year schedule.


Academy Award Winning Advances At Walt Disney Feature Animation.

1932 - A Special Award was given to Walt Disney for the creation of Mickey Mouse.

1938 - Top Technical Award to Walt Disney Productions for the design and application to production of the Multi-Plane Camera.

1939 - A Special Award was given to Walt Disney for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," recognized as a significant screen innovation.

1942 - A Special Technical Award for outstanding use of sound in a motion picture, "Fantasia".

1960 - Special Technical Award to Ub Iwerks for the design of an improved optical printer for special effects and matte shots.

1986 - Technical Achievement Award to David W. Spencer for the development of an Animation Photo Transfer process (APT).

1992 - Scientific/Technical Award to Members of the Walt Disney Feature Animation Department, for CAPS (Computer Animated Production System). The system enables the seamless combination of hand-drawn and computer animation.

Reference: 1A/2A