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November 1

November 1, 1921 – Animator Retta Davidson is Born

Retta Davidson

“…Retta Davidson will always be a legend in my book. She was my boss, my colleague, and one of the nicest women I ever knew.” – Animator and Disney Legend Floyd Norman

On November 1, 1921, animator Retta Davidson was born in Arcadia, California. She joined the Disney Studios at the age of seventeen as a member of the Ink and Paint department, working on animated features such as Pinocchio, Bambi, and Fantasia. During World War II, when many of the animators were drafted, Davidson was one of ten women selected from the department to be considered for animation training. After working as an animator for a year, she left the studio to enlist in the Navy, serving for four years. After the war ended, she came back to the studio to continue working as an assistant animator. Davidson’s skills as a key assistant animator were always in high demand. Like many animators, Davidson left the studios in 1966 after Walt’s death, but continued to work as a freelancer before moving to Canada to be an animation teacher. She returned to the studios in the eighties to train young animators, and was promoted to Coordinating Animator. In 1985, Davidson retired from the Disney Studios, though she left an indelible mark on those that were able to work alongside her. She passed away in 1998.

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