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May 18

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May 18, 1910 – Artist, Imagineer, and Disney Legend Dorothea Redmond is Born

“A Dorothea Redmond watercolor painting is a wonder to behold.” – Stacia Martin, Disney artist and historian

On May 18, 1910, artist Dorothea Holt Redmond was born in Los Angeles, California, and would receive her degree in interior design from the USC School of Architecture. Afterwards, she attended the Art Center College and got a degree in illustration. In 1938, she was hired by Selznick International Pictures, contributing her skills to such films as The Young in Heart and Gone With the Wind, and was considered one of the most talented illustrators in the business. She left to work at an architectural firm, and in 1964, she joined WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering). Her first project was to transform Disneyland’s Red Wagon Inn to the more upscale Plaza Inn, which would go on to become Walt’s favorite place to bring guests. Her other big project was to create the interior paintings for the Royal Suite, which was a hideaway for the Disney family (its location, above the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, is now known as the Dream Suite). Redmond did a multitude of work for Walt Disney World, working prolifically on Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Main Street. Her most well-known work is for the murals covering the passage through Cinderella’s Castle, which were replicated in Tokyo Disneyland almost ten years later. After ten years at Disney, Redmond retired. She was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2008. She passed away on February 27, 2009.

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December 24

December 24, 1960 – Animator Glenn McQueen is Born

“Glenn is not gone from us. He’s still alive in all of us.”

On December 24, 1960, Glenn John McQueen was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. After graduating from Sheridan College in 1985, McQueen scored a scholarship to the New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Lab; this lab is notable for being the top computer lab for the development of computer animated films, with several future Pixar employees having studied there. McQueen himself would become a Pixar employee in 1994, where he became an animation supervisor for the films Toy Story; A Bug’s Life; Toy Story 2; and Monsters, Inc. He was noted for his brilliance in the field of animation, with John Lasseter calling him the “heart and soul” of the animation department. Unforutnately, McQueen passed away in 2002 during the development of Finding Nemo; the film was dedicated to his memory, as was the character of Lightning McQueen from the Cars franchise. When Pixar Canada opened, it was named the Glenn McQueen Pixar Animation Center in his honor.

November 17

November 17, 2002 – The Animated Feature Treasure Planet Premieres at the Cinerama Dome Theater

“Everyone should be able to relate to Jim. He’s somebody that can’t figure out these things that are special about him, he can’t figure out how to make it work for him, and I think everyone’s been in that position; I know I have.” – Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, voice of Jim Hawkins in Treasure Planet

On November 17, 2002, 43rd animated feature film Treasure Planet had its world premiere at the Cinerama Dome Theater in Hollywood, California. Those involved with the film attended the premiere, including directors/writers Ron Clements and John Musker, songwriter John Rzeznik, animators Glen Keane and John Ripa, and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Hyde Pierce. Other celebrities that attended the premiere included Melissa Joan Hart, Daveigh Chase, and John Ripa. The film would go on to be generally released November 27, and was released in regular and IMAX formats simultaneously.

October 31

October 31, 1993 – The Book The Disney Villain is Published by Hyperion

“Disney villains in particular are some of the most exciting and memorable characters in popular culture, and the Disney Villain…is the first comprehensive retrospective of the wondrous gallery of fifty-five charismatic and colorful rapscallions that audiences throughout the years have loved to hate.”

On October 31, 1993, the book The Disney Villain was published by Disney’s publishing arm Hyperion. Written by veteran animators and members of the Nine Old Men Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, the book celebrates and explores the villains in the then 60 years of Disney animation, starting with Mickey’s nemesis Peg Leg Pete, and moving to the villains of the emerging years of the Disney Renaissance. The book was also notable for looking at the nature of villains across a wide-spectrum of characters, ranging from Monstro the whale to Maleficent.

October 16

October 16, 1998 – Twenty-One New Inductees Are Named Disney Legends

“That’s a whole lot of legends!”

On October 16, 1998, twenty-one new Disney Legends were honored in a special ceremony at the new Disney Legends Plaza at the Walt Disney Studios. The plaza was also dedicated on this day, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company. The honorees were an eclectic mix of those individuals who had a lasting impact on the history and success of the Walt Disney Company, and ranged from actors to executives. Among those honored were Disney Company managing director for England and Europe, Cyril James; company treasurer, Don Escen; former chairman of the Oriental Land Company, Masatomo Takahashi; film editor, Lloyd Richardson; first Alice actress, Virginia Davis; animator Bill Tytla; animator and director Wilfred Jackson; actress Kathryn Beaumont; animator and director Ben Sharpsteen; director, writer, producer, and narrator Jim Algar; merchandising executive Kay Kamen; former president of Walt Disney Enterprises of Japan, Matsuo Yokoyama; documentary film makers Al and Elma Milotte; actress Gynis Johns; actress Hayley Mills; actor Kurt Russell; documentary film maker Paul Kenworthy; director and producer Larry Lansburgh; composer Buddy Baker; film editor Norman “Stormy” Palmer; and actor Dick Van Dyke. Of those honored, James, Tytla, Jackson, Sharpsteen, Algar, Kamen, and the Milottes were honored posthumously.

August 4

August 4, 1985 – Nine Old Men Animator Ollie Johnston is Profiled on The Disney Family Album

“Just because they’re a bunch of mere pencil drawings, going through these routines and giving these performances, to me, that was real.”

On August 4, 1985, the fifteenth episode of the documentary series The Disney Family Album premiered on the Disney Channel. The series introduced those that had an impact on making Disney the company it became; this episode introduced Nine Old Men member Ollie Johnston, known for his work on animating Thumper from Bambi and the fairies from Sleeping Beauty. The episode focused on his career at Disney, when he started as an apprentice animator on Disney early short films, such as the Academy Award winning The Tortoise and the Hare, leading to his role as an animator and a directing animator on over 24 animated feature films. The episode also focused on his train hobby, one he shared with fellow animator Ward Kimball, as well as Walt Disney, and looked at the backyard railroad he built himself.

July 19

July 19, 1989 – Ub Iwerks and the Nine Old Men are Honored as Disney Legends

“Collectively, they helped establish The Walt Disney Company…the impact of their work is immeasurable.”

On July 19, 1989, the Disney Legends Award Ceremony was held at the Walt Disney Studios. The focus of the ceremony were the animators that helped make the Walt Disney Company and Disney Animation: animator and Imagineer Ub Iwerks, and Nine Old Men animators Les Clark, Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Woolie Reitherman, and Frank Thomas. This group was considered the “Founders Circle” of the Walt Disney Company. Of those being honored, only Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl, Ollie Johnston, Marc Davis, and Ward Kimball were alive to attend the ceremony.