August 10, 1914 – Director and Disney Legend Ken Annakin is Born
“Ken was an important part of the Disney legacy and made several memorable films for my Uncle Walt.” – Roy Disney
On August 10, 1914, Kenneth Cooper Annakin was born in Beverly, England. He began his career in films with the RAF Film Unit, working as a camera assistant to create propaganda films for the war effort after being injured in the blitz. In 1947, Annakin had his directorial debut with the feature film Holiday Camp, a comedy set at a summer holiday camp. This was then followed with the film Miranda, a comedy about a mermaid, which became a blockbuster in 1948; this film also starred fellow Disney Legend Glynis Johns, who would go to star in Annakin’s second film for Disney, The Sword and the Rose.
While working for England’s Pinewood Studios, he was approached by Disney to direct a series of films. After World War II, a policy was passed that money made in England during the war was not allowed to leave the country. To use these funds, Disney decided to create a series of live-action films, with Annakin directing a few of these later classics. The first film was The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, based on the classic legend. Annakin’s work for the studio was followed by the successful films The Sword and the Rose, Swiss Family Robinson, and Third Man on the Mountain. While working for Disney, Annakin picked up the technique of storyboarding, which had mainly been used only for animated features, but Annakin continued to use this long after his work with Disney. In 2002, Annakin was honored as a Disney Legend, the second director to receive this honor. The same year, Annakin was awarded with an Order of the British Empire, and an honorary degree from Hull University. He passed away on April 22, 2009, at the age of 94.