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Tag Archives: Animator

February 11

February 11, 2007 – Disney Animator Andreas Deja Wins Winsor McCay Award


“It’s fine to have a villain who beats people up and is ruthless, but the more important thing for me is whether or not they are interesting. The villains who have full personalities are the ones you remember.”

On February 11, 207, the 34th Annie Awards were held at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. One of the honorees of the Winsor McCay Award was Disney animator Andreas Deja. The award, named after pioneer animator Winsor McCay, honors those who have made lifetime or career contributions to the animation field. Deja is known for animating some of the most well-regarded villains in the Disney Renaissance, including Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, and Scar in The Lion King. With this award, Deja joins the ranks of esteemed animators Max Fleischer, Tex Avery, and early mentor Eric Larson.

October 16

October 16, 1996 – Ten New Inductees Are Named Disney Legends


“The Disney Legends award has three distinct elements that characterize the contributions made by each talented recipient.”

On October 16, 1996, ten new members of the Disney legacy were honored as Disney Legends in a special ceremony at the Walt Disney Studios in the Legends Plaza. Among those honored were former vice president of Walt Disney World, actor and narrator of Disney nature documentaries Rex Allen, animator and Imagineer X Atencio, voice actress for Cruella de Vil Betty Lou Gerson, animator and Imagineer Bill Justice, former executive vice president for Walt Disney World Bob Matheison, Imagineer Sam McKim, animator Bob Moore, story man Bill Peet, and one of the key designers of Walt Disney World, Joe Potter. Of those honored, Allen and Potter were honored posthumously.

October 12

October 12, 2000 – Ten New Disney Legends are Inducted


“…the spark that is ignited when imagination and skill combine to create a new dream.”

On October 12, 2000, ten new Disney Legends were honored and inducted in a ceremony at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Among those honored were animator Grace Bailey, Imagineer Harriet Burns, animator and Imagineer Joyce Carlson, former Vice-President of Walt Disney Attractions Ron Dominguez, Jiminy Cricket voice actor Cliff Edwards, animator Becky Falberg, Pinocchio voice actor Dick Jones, animator Dodie Roberts, animator Retta Scott, and animator Ruthie Tompson. Of those honored, Bailey, Edwards, and Scott were honored posthumously.

August 10

August 10, 2013 – Eight New Disney Legends are Inducted at the D23 Expo

Photo courtesy of D23

                   Photo courtesy of D23

“…today we are celebrating some of the remarkable people behind the Disney Magic.” – Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger

On August 10, 2013, at the D23 Expo, Chairman and CEO Bob Iger and host Tom Bergeron presented the next eight inductees into the Disney Legends line, joining 249 others that have been recognized for their contributions to the Disney legacy. The 2013 inductees included Imagineers Tony Baxter and Collin Campbell, television personality Dick Clark, actors Billy Crystal and John Goodman, Apple founder Steve Jobs, animator Glen Keane, and comedian Ed Wynn. For those still living, the honorees were brought to the stage to be given a special trophy and to say a few words about their career or time with Disney. A special presentation was held for those that had passed away prior to the awards.

May 13

Posted on

May 13, 1935 – Storyboarder, Animator, and Disney Legend Burny Mattinson is Born

Burny Mattinson

“Disney has always been a family place. I think that’s what’s so rich about it.”

On May 13, 1935, Burnett Mattinson was born in San Francisco, California. A skilled artist from an early age, Mattinson managed to score a job at Disney thanks to his mother, who dropped him off at the gate of the Disney Studios after he graduated high school. A guard called the head of Personnel for him, and he got a job in the mailroom. Mattinson’s case is similar to those early animators, as he had no formal art training before he started working as an in-betweener a mere six months later. For the animated feature Sleeping Beauty, he was promoted to assistant animator under Marc Davis. After working with Davis on One Hundred and One Dalmatians, he worked with fellow Nine Old Men animator Eric Larson for twelve years on a variety of projects; he then began working with Ollie Johnston after an internal animation training program. Mattinson made his mark by recommending to then CEO Ron Miller an idea for a holiday film, which to his surprise was approved, and Mattinson was picked to direct what would eventually become Mickey’s Christmas Carol. He continued to make his mark on several Disney projects, and in 2008, he was honored as a Disney Legend. In 2013, he celebrated his 60th anniversary with the company, becoming one of the longest serving employees with the company.

December 19

December 19, 1914 – Animator, Story Man, and Disney Legend Mel Shaw is Born

Mel Shaw

“Mel was on a short list of vanguard artists who would jump into a new film when it was still a blank piece of paper and with his stunning work he’d show us all the visual possibilities.” – Don Hahn

On December 19, 1914, Melvin Schwartzman (who would change his last name to Shaw) was born in Brooklyn, New York, to an opera singer mother and a lawyer father. He displayed great artistic talent at an early age, being selected for the Student Art League Society and winning a Procter & Gamble soap carving contest. In 1928, his family moved to Los Angeles, though he left at one point to try his hand at being a cowboy, despite winning a scholarship to an art institute. He soon returned to California, where he found a job at Pacific Titles creating title cards for silent films. Shaw’s first animation job came with the newly formed Harman-Ising Studios, where he took on several roles including animator, character designer, story man, and director. Shaw played polo in his spare time, where he met Walt Disney, who would invite him to join his studio. Shaw left Harman-Ising and joined Disney in 1937, where his first main project was the 1942 film Bambi. He left Disney during World War II, choosing to serve in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, working as a filmmaker and cartoonist. After the war, while not going back to Disney, he did work with the company through his new company, Allen-Shaw Productions (a partnership with former MGM Studios animator Bob Allen). He was asked back to Disney in 1974 to help transition animation from the old guard to the new, bringing his expertise to such films as The Great Mouse Detective and The Lion King. For his multitude of work for Disney, Shaw was honored as a Disney Legend in 2004. In 2012, at the age of 97, Shaw passed away.

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.

October 13

October 13, 2008 – The 22nd Disney Legends Ceremonies Are Held

2008 DLA

“Collectively, this group has enchanted millions, young and old around the world and it is a privilege to pay tribute to them today.”

On October 13, 2008, eleven new inductees were honored at the 22nd Disney Legends ceremonies. Held in the Disney Legends Plaza in Burbank, the Legends in attendance participated in a hand-print ceremony, with their bronzed prints being hung in the plaza. The ceremony was overseen by Disney President and CEO Bob Iger, with inductees including Barbara Walters, Frank Gifford, Wayne Allwine (voice of Mickey Mouse), Russi Taylor (voice of Minnie Mouse), Bob Booth (Imagineer), Neil Gallagher (Imagineer), Toshio Kagami (Director, Chairman, and CEO of the Oriental Land Company), Burny Mattinson (animator), Walt Peregoy (animator), Dorothea Redmond (Imagineer), and Oliver Wallace (musician).

October 10

October 10, 2007 – The 2007 Disney Legends Ceremony Takes Place

Disney Legend

“…the spark that is ignited when imagination and skill combine to create a new dream.”

On October 10, 2007, the 20th Disney Legends Ceremony took place in the Legends Plaza at the Walt Disney Studios. Among those honored were President of ABC Sports Roone Arledge, animator Art Babbit, Imagineer Carl Bongirno, dancer Marge Champion, animator Dick Huemer, executive vice president Ron Logan, animator Lucille Martin, ABC CEO Thomas Murphy, composer and musician Randy Newman, animator Floyd Norman, make-up artist Bob Schiffer, and archivist Dave Smith.

September 27

September 27, 2003 – The Animation Art of Ron Clements Exhibit Opens at the Sioux City Arts Center

“I think kids who spend more time by themselves, they tend to use their imaginations more. I wrote stories and drew characters and did things like that.”

On September 27, 2003, the Sioux City Arts Center in Sioux City, Iowa, held its opening night reception for its newest exhibit “The Animation Art of Ron Clements.” The exhibit honored Disney animator and film director Ron Clements, and focused on his (at the time) five main films that he co-directed with John Musker: The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, and Treasure Planet. The stories of these five films are told through storyboards, cels, and sketches.