March 30, 1913 – Animator, Imagineer, Member of the Nine Old Men, and Disney Legend Marc Davis is Born
“When I then came to the studio and met Marc Davis…he was the total opposite of Cruella de Vil in figure, but the sense of taste, that was a guy who really savored life, and you can see it in his animation.” – Animator Glen Keane
On March 30, 1913, Marc Fraser Davis was born in Bakersfield, California. After moving around several times due to his father’s job in oil fields, Davis enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute after high school, which was followed by enrollments in the California School of Fine Arts and the Otis Art Institute. In 1935, Davis was hired by Disney as an apprentice for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He soon rose through the animator ranks, working as a story sketch and character designer for Bambi and Victory Through Air Power. He continued to work on Disney animated features as a character designer, and is particularly known for creating the looks for Tinker Bell from Peter Pan, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians, among others. Davis was also an animator for several key short films, including Duck Pimples and Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom. In the mid-50s, Davis began working for Walt Disney Imagineering, working as one of the original Imagineers on such attractions as it’s a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Haunted Mansion. His wife and fellow Disney Legend Alice also worked with Disney park attractions, creating costumes for the audio-animatronic characters. In 1978, Davis retired after 43 years at Disney, but continued to work in a consulting role. He and Alice continued to support the California Institute of the Arts. In 1989, Davis was honored with the other Nine Old Men as Disney Legends. In 2000, Davis passed away at the age of 86.