[[caption-width-right:350:[-Back row: Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, Frank Thomas, Eric Larson, and Ollie Johnston.-] [-Front row: Woolie Reitherman, Les Clark, Ward Kimball, and John Lounsbery.-] ]]

Some of the most revered animators in the HistoryOfAnimation, '''''Disney's Nine Old Men''''' were a group of WaltDisney's top animators, some of whom would even become directors. They also taught and mentored many of today's top animators, both at Disney and elsewhere.

The Nine Old Men in question are:

# '''Les Clark''': Working with Disney from as early as OswaldTheLuckyRabbit, and having worked on almost every pre-1960 Disney feature sans ''Disney/{{Bambi}}'' and ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', Les was one of Disney's true veteran animators. He animated up to ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp'', and after that he was promoted to directing and animating shorts and featurettes for the studio until his retirement in 1975. In fact, due to being with Disney from the very beginning, Walt originally chose him to write ''Literature/TheIllusionOfLife'', but he passed away during preliminary research.

# '''Marc Davis''': Got his start in 1935 as an animator on ''Disney/SnowWhite'', training under veteran Creator/GrimNatwick, and would later do animation for characters like Bambi and Thumper, [[Disney/PeterPan Tinkerbell]], [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Maleficent and her raven]], and [[Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians Cruella De Vil]]. He quit animation in 1961 to work on the DisneyThemeParks, designing for such iconic rides as Ride/TheHauntedMansion and PiratesOfTheCaribbean.

# '''Ollie Johnston''': Got his start in 1935 working ''Snow White''. Noteworthy work of his includes [[Disney/PeterPan Mr. Smee]], the Stepsisters in ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'', the District Attorney in ''Disney/TheAdventuresOfIchabodAndMrToad'', and Prince John in ''Disney/RobinHood''. He and his longtime partner Frank Thomas authored the three books "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation", "Too Funny For Words" and "The Disney Villain".

# '''Milt Kahl''': Started at Disney in 1934, and was easily Disney's most skilled animator, capable of animating the most notoriously hard characters, particularly the human males. Scenes animated by him tend to be [[AnimationBump noticeably more fluid and better drawn]]. Works of his includes [[Disney/TheJungleBook Shere Kahn]], [[Disney/SleepingBeauty Prince Phillip]], [[Disney/TheAristocats Edgar the Butler]], [[Disney/RobinHood The Sheriff of Nottingham]], and [[Disney/TheRescuers Madame Medusa]].

# '''Ward Kimball''': Joined Disney in 1934, and was easily Walt's most unique, "Cartoony" director, and Walt's personal favorite as a result. Noteworthy work of his includes Disney's most cartoony short, "[[SillySymphonies Toby Tortoise Returns]]", [[Disney/{{Pinocchio}} Jiminy Cricket]], the [[DisneyAcidSequence Three Caballeros theme]] from [[Disney/TheThreeCaballeros the movie of the same name]], Lucifer the cat and Jaq and Gus from ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'', the Mad Hatter and Chesire Cat in ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'', and the two {{UPA}}-influenced AdventuresInMusicDuology. He later directed the ''Tomorrowland'' episodes of [[Series/WaltDisneyPresents the Disney anthology series]], and would go on to win an AcademyAward for the short ''It's Tough to Be a Bird''. Animation fans have often cited Ward as "the Creator/TexAvery of Disney". Walt also praised him as a genius and the only person who was his equal (though he did dislike his UPA influences).

# '''Eric Larson''': Joined Disney in 1933. Notable work of his includes the [[Disney/TheThreeCaballeros Aracuan bird]], Peg from ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp'', the Vultures in ''Disney/TheJungleBook'', Disney/PeterPan's flight over London, and Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear in ''SongOfTheSouth''. He would later be given the job of training new Disney recruits in the 70's.

# '''John Lounsbery''': Started in 1935 and, working under Norm 'Fergy' Ferguson, quickly became a star animator. Lounsbery, affectionately known as 'Louns' by his fellow animators, was an incredibly strong draftsman who inspired many animators over the years. His animation was noted for its squashy, stretchy feel. Lounsbery animated Ben Ali Gator in ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}''; George Darling in Peter Pan; Tony, Joe, and some of the dogs in ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp''; The Kings in ''Disney/SleepingBeauty''; The Elephants in ''Disney/TheJungleBook''; and many, many others. In the 1970s, Louns was promoted to Director and co-directed ''Winnie The Pooh And Tigger Too'' and his last film, ''Disney/TheRescuers''.

# '''Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman''': Joined Disney in 1935 as an animator and director. He directed all the Disney features after Walt's death up till his retirement. Some of his work includes Monstro in ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}'', the Crocodile (in ''Disney/PeterPan''), the Dragon (in ''Disney/SleepingBeauty''), and the Rat (in ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp'').

# '''Frank Thomas''': joined Disney in 1934. He went on to author ''Literature/TheIllusionOfLife'' with Ollie Johnston. His work included the wicked Stepmother (in ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}''), the Queen of Hearts (in ''Disney/AliceInWonderland''), and Captain Hook (in ''Disney/PeterPan''). Amongst animators, he's most famous for coining the phrase "Don't animate what the character is doing, animate what they're ''thinking''."

Movies featuring animation from all of the Nine Old Men include ''Disney/{{Cinderella}}'', ''Disney/AliceInWonderland'', and ''Disney/PeterPan''.

!!Common tropes include:
* AnimationBump: Any scene under their supervision, especially if it's a Milt Kahl scene.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Wolfgang Reitherman.
* CloudCuckooLander: Easily Ward, noted by the Disney Family Album as "The Disney animator who never grew up".
* [[CoolOldGuy Cool Old Guys]]
* PassingTheTorch: Around the 70's to early 80's.
* RailEnthusiast: Ward and Ollie were noted railway enthusiasts and actually got Walt Disney to have his own backyard railroad in his Carolwood home.
** Ward himself went all-out with the famous [[http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m30ig3MOze1qdrk8fo1_1280.png "Grizzly Flats Railroad"]] and after his death, received Disneyland Railroad No. 5 as his [[http://www.mickeyxtreme.com/images1/news%202005/62605wardkimballrr.jpg namesake]].
* ShoutOut: ''WesternAnimation/RunawayBrain'', ''WesternAnimation/TheIronGiant'' and ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' make shout outs to Frank and Ollie.
** Frank and Ollie even make a small cameo in ''The Iron Giant'', voicing two railroad workers that [[InkSuitActor were drawn to look like them]].
** Same thing in ''The Incredibles''. Two old men at the end of the climactic battle against the Omnidroid are animated to look like, and are voiced by, Ollie and Frank.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Many of the [[TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation renaissance-era]] animators, such as GlenKeane, Andreas Deja, [[PixarRegulars John Lasseter]], and BradBird, all of whom were their proteges.