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August 12

August 12, 1919 – Supervisor of the Paint Lab and Disney Legend Dodie Roberts is Born

Dodie Roberts

“I love puzzles, and mixing paint was like putting together a puzzle. It was fascinating to create colors and to get them exact.”

On August 12, 1919, Dodie Roberts was born in Plainview, Nebraska. After attending college in Delaware, Roberts moved to Southern California in 1939, and was invited to visit the burgeoning Disney Studios. In October of that year, Roberts gained employment at the Studio as a runner for the Ink and Paint Department. Soon after, she was promoted, being given the choice position of creating new colors for the staff. The work was challenging and exact, as many proprietary colors were created in the lab for use in animated features; only the Supervisor of the department was allowed to know the ingredients in the paints, as there was fear that other studios could swipe the formula. In 1972, Roberts became the Supervisor of the Paint Lab, overseeing eight staff members and more than 500 shades of color. One of her responsibilities was making sure that the right paints were selected, down to the gradations of single colors to match the lighting and mood in any particular scene. In 1984, Roberts retired after 45 years with Disney. A shade of purple was developed in her honor, named Dodie 6. She, along with fellow employee Al Jones, worked to found the Disney Golden Ears Retirement Club in the same year for former employees. In 2000, she was honored as a Disney Legend. In 2008, Roberts passed away at the age of 88.

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