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Noteworthy Disney Staff
We all love Disney's enormous selection of classic films and characters, but without these people, we might not have ever gotten all of those classics made! So here's some noteworthy Disney staff for your reading pleasure.
Compare to Noteworthy Fleischer Staff
, Noteworthy Looney Tunes Staff
and Noteworthy MGM Cartoon Staff
- Alan Menken: Was teamed up with Howard Ashman for the sound tracks for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. He also composed the scores for Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home on the Range and Tangled.
- Andreas Deja: Started at Disney as a concept artist for The Black Cauldron, animated Mickey in The Prince and the Pauper, and was the supervising animator for King Triton, Gaston, Jafar, Scar, Hercules and Lilo. His most recent work was supervising the animation for Tigger in Winnie-the-Pooh.
- Andy Gaskill: Art director for The Lion King.
- Art Babbitt: Most known for turning Goofy into the character we all know and love. He also animated such characters as the Wicked Queen in Snow White, Geppetto in Pinocchio, the mushrooms in the Nutcracker Suite scene of Fantasia, and the stork in Dumbo—as well as contributed to the disastrous 1941 Disney studio strike, which led to his termination.
- Ben Sharpsteen: Was an early animator for Disney, and became a sequence director on Snow White, co-director on Pinocchio, director of Dumbo, production supervisor on Fantasia, Fun and Fancy Free, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.
- Bill Melendez: Most famous for creating the Peanuts TV specials, he worked at Disney in the early 40s until he left due to the animators' strike. He went on to work for Warner Bros. and UPA before setting up his own shop.
- Blaine Gibson: inbetweener and assistant animator working on most features through 101 Dalmatians.
- Bob Clampett: He didn't work in Disney's animation department (although he wanted to), but he and his grandma did help make one of the earliest Mickey Mouse dolls. He and Walt Disney would become friends later in life.
- Brad Bird
- Burt Gillett: Stuck with Disney in the early years, known for directing Three Little Pigs and Lonesome Ghosts. At one point he left Disney to work on Van Beuren Studios "Rainbow Parade" cartoons, but returned as soon as the studio shut down. He worked at the Walter Lantz studio in the late 30s before retiring from the business.
- Carl Barks: Started as an inbetweener and storyman, but later went on to work of his beloved Donald Duck comic books, as well as create Scrooge McDuck and the Disney Ducks Comic Universe.
- Charles "Nick" Nichols: He began as an animator on the shorts and had most of the responsibility on the Pluto cartoonsand was also the supervising animator for the Coachman in Pinocchio. He later wejnt to wotk at Hanna-Barbera, where he directed the animated version of Charlottes Web.
- Chris Sanders: One of the quirkiest people to work at Disney, Chris Sanders was one of the key animators of the Marahute's flight in The Rescuers Down Under. He later went on to contribute heavily to Mulan, and co-directed Lilo & Stitch with Dean Deblois. He was originally the director of Bolt, but was fired by John Lasseter and moved on to DreamWorks Animation, where he ended up co-directing How to Train Your Dragon to massive acclaim, followed by The Croods.
- Chuck Jones: Had a very brief stay at Disney's with Ward Kimball after Warner Bros. briefly shut down their animation studio. While he respected Walt, he couldn't stand the lack of creative control there that he was used to at his old studio, and as soon as Warner Bros. reopened their studio, Chuck was gone.
- Claude Coats: Background painter, who worked on Snow White, Fantasia, Dumbo, Saludos Amigos, Make Mine Music, Lady and the Tramp, Cinderella, and Peter Pan.
- David Hand: The director of many of Disney's animal cartoons, and was the director of Snow White and Bambi. He would later go over to Europe to make the obscure, short lived Animaland cartoon series.
- David Hall: Storyman, who produced horrific story sketches and paintings for Alice in Wonderland and a few for Peter Pan.
- Dave Pruiksma, animator of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast.
- Dick Huemer: Former Fleischer veteran who became a prominent animator, storyboard artist and writer for the studio throughout the decades. He even directed two shorts; "The Whalers" and "Goofy and Wilbur".
- Dick Lundy: A very skilled animator and director, created the character of Donald Duck and directed several of his shorts. He would later go on work at MGM's cartoon department on the Barney Bear and Droopy cartoons, and after that went to Walter Lantz's studio to work on their Andy Panda, Musical Miniatures and Woody Woodpecker short subjects.
- Disney's Nine Old Men
- Don Bluth: Got his start as an assistant animator on Sleeping Beauty, did animation for Robin Hood and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, and was the directing animator for The Rescuers. Directed The Small One and was animation director on Pete's Dragon before leaving on his own.
- Don Graham: A critical figure in the development of Disney animation, Graham hosted "Action Analysis" classes daily for animators at Disney from 1932 to 1941, not only giving them formal art training, but also having them analyze live action film at different speeds, as well as critique their own shorts as a means of how to improve them. He would later publish his own art book, "Composing Pictures", which is highly valued by many veteran animators.
- Don Hahn: began working for Disney on Pete's Dragon. He also worked as associate producer on the animated sequences in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and later produced Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Fantasia 2000, The Emperor's New Groove, and Atlantis The Lost Empire.
- Don Griffith: Layout artist on the Disney films from Victory Through Air Power to The Black Cauldron.
- Don Rosa
- Ed Love: An animator for Disney, later went on to work for Walter Lantz (animated the earliest incarnations of Buzz Buzzard), MGM and Hanna-Barbera.
- Emery Hawkins: Sporadically worked at Disney for very short periods of time. Did some animation for Dumbo.
- Eyvind Earle: Background artist and color stylist on such films as Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp. He is also credited with giving the 1959 animated feature Sleeping Beauty its medieval look. Earle first rose to prominence at the studio in 1953, when an animated short that he worked on, "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom", won both an Academy Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. Earle died on July 20, 2000 of esophageal cancer.
- Eric Goldberg: After working for Richard Williams and running a commercials studio in England, came to Disney as supervising animator on Genie in Aladdin. Later animated Phil in Hercules, Louis in The Princess and the Frog and Rabbit in Winnie-the-Pooh. Co-directed Pocahontas and directed the "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Carnaval of the Animals" segments on Fantasia 2000. Briefly worked at Warner Bros. as animation director on Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He recently headed the 2D animation for the short Get a Horse.
- Floyd Gottfredson: Got his start as an early Disney animator, but moved on to being the top artist for the Mickey Mouse comic stip for 45 years.
- Floyd Norman: One of the first African-Americans hired by the studio. To this day he still works at Disney as a storyboard artist.
- Fred Moore: Animator on Snow White and credited with updating Mickey Mouse's appearance in the late 1930s. Moore also served as an animator or directing animator for most of the animated features from Snow White to Peter Pan. Worked at the Walter Lantz studio for a brief period in the late 1940s.
- Friz Freleng: Was an animator for Walt on the Oswald shorts.
- Gary Trousdale: Made his feature-directing debut with the Academy Award winning Beauty and the Beast. Trousdale has been with Feature Animation since 1984, and has contributed to the following films: Oliver & Company, The Little Mermaid and The Rescuers Down Under. Co-directed with Kirk Wise on The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Atlantis The Lost Empire. Currently a director at DreamWorks Animation.
- Grim Natwick: Got his start working for the Fleischer brothers and Ub Iwerks animating his creation Betty Boop, but was lured away by the idea of Walt making the first feature length animated picture. He contributed quite a bit during his stay at Disney, including animating much of Snow White herself. He left soon after to go back to the Fleischers after not getting the pay he was promised after Snow White on time—a move he regretted later down the road, as he would have loved to work on Fantasia.
- Hugh Harman And Rudolph Ising: Two of Disney's top animators on the Oswald shorts. They would later go on to found the Warner Bros. animation studio, as well as MGM's animation department. They would also occasionally outsource some of their inkers and animators to Disney to help them out.
- Howard Ashman: was teamed up with Alan Menken for the first few films of the Disney Renaissance. He died before production on Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin could be completed.
- Kay Nielsen: Sketch artist, storyman, and designer. Nielsen created designs for "The Night on Bald Mountain" segment in Fantasia. During the 1940s, he worked on concept designs for an early version of The Little Mermaid and "Ride of the Valkyries". In the mid-1980s, his sketches were brought out of the Disney Archives to inspire the animators who worked on the 1989 The Little Mermaid, and he ended up getting a posthumous "visual development" credit.
- Ken Anderson: Art director on Snow White, designed Shere Khan and Elliot, and production designer on Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians and The Aristocats.
- Norm Ferguson: One of Disney's most loved animators, known for his excellent personality animation, as well as his contributions to the character of Pluto and his subsequent short subject series. Noteworthy work of his includes the famous flypaper scene from "Playful Pluto", the Witch from Snow White and Honest John and Gideon from Pinocchio. Directing animator on Snow White and Peter Pan.
- Ken O'Connor: layout artist on 13 features and 100 shorts. Features including Snow White, Fantasia and Lady and the Tramp. After a short retirement, O'Connor returned to Disney to help develop shows such as World of Motion and Universe of Energy at EPCOT, and the film Back to Neverland for the Animation Tour at the Disney/ MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida.
- Michael Eisner: Previously the president of Paramount, he became the first "outside" (aka non-Disney) CEO of the studio in 1984 and is partly responsible for turning its fortunes around in the late 1980s/early 1990s and making it into the multimedia empire it is today. He was ultimately forced out of his job in 2005 by disgruntled shareholders after he spent over half a decade attempting to take a more hands-on approach in the studios creative process.
- Mark Henn: Animated Mickey Mouse in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and worked on Oliver and the Artful Dodger in "Oliver & Company. In 1989 he moved to Florida to help establish the feature animation studio there. He animated Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, and young Simba in The Lion King.
- Glen Keane: Began his career as an animator on The Rescuers. He animated the fight scene with the bear in The Fox and the Hound, and was directing animator on Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Marahute in The Rescuers Down Under, Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Tarzan. Was the initial director and later executive producer of Tangled. He left Disney in 2012 after working on Paperman to set up his own studio.
- Joe Grant: Character designer and storyman at Disney during the early years of the Studios. He worked on such films as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Saludos Amigos, Make Mine Music, and Alice in Wonderland. He returned to working at the Studio to work on the visual development on Beauty and the Beast and was a story adviser on Pocahontas.
- Ken O'Brien: animator on features from Snow White to Sleeping Beauty.
- James "Shamus" Culhane: A former Fleischer animator who came to the studio after Walt was impressed by his work. His most pivotal work is the iconic "Heigh-Ho" sequence of Snow White. He would later leave Disney to work on Max and Dave Fleischer's ill-fated feature film projects, take a very brief stint at Warner Bros., make considerably contributions to the Walter Lantz cartoon studio, and later down the road created his own TV cartoon studio.
- Jerry Beck: Worked as an Executive for Disney.
- Greg Weisman: Works as a writer for Disney. Noteworthy work of his includes Gargoyles and The Spectacular Spider Man.
- Wilfred Jackson: One of the three animators (the other two being Ub Iwerks and Les Clark) who left with Walt after the Oswald fiasco.
- Dan Mac Manus: Effects animator, working on most of the Disney features during the period between 1935 until 1973.
- Rob Minkoff: Began his career in the Studios as an inbetweener on The Black Cauldron. He helped design the character of Basil in The Great Mouse Detective and Ursula in The Little Mermaid. He is associated with the character Roger Rabbit as the director of "Tummy Trouble" and "Roller Coaster Rabbit" and co-producer of "Trail Mix-up". He directed The Lion King with Roger Allers.
- John Pomeroy: A close associate of Don Bluth, and was the lead animator of Milo for Atlantis The Lost Empire, John Smith for Pocahontas, and the Firebird for Fantasia 2000.
- John Musker: Began his career at Disney as an animator on such films as The Small One, The Fox and the Hound and The Black Cauldron. He co-directed with Ron Clements The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet and The Princess and the Frog.
- Jack Hannah: Director on most of the Donald Duck shorts.
- Jack King: Animator and sequence director on such films as Pinocchio, Saludos Amigos, Dumbo, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Make, Melody Time, and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Prolific director of the Donald Duck cartoons; was THE Duck Director until Jack Hannah took over completely.
- Jack Kinney: Animator/sequence director of films such as Pinocchio and Dumbo. He first directed Goofy in "Goofy's Glider" and soon became established as the director of the Goofy cartoons.
- June Foray: Voiced Walt's take on the Witch Hazel character, also voiced Lucifer the Cat in Cinderella.
- Mel Blanc: Provided the hiccups for Gideon on Pinocchio, and voiced Bugs and the rest of his Looney Tunes charcters for the last time in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Richard Williams: Worked as a temporary assistant animator time and time again, and was the animation director for Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Tom Palmer
- Pete Emslie
- Al Eugster: A former Fleischer veteran who migrated to Disney and specilized in animating the Donald Duck cartoons. He eventually returned to the Fleischer studio in 1940.
- Kirk Wise: received his first feature-directing credit on the Academy Award-winning Beauty and the Beast. and in 1996 re-teamed with Don Hahn and Gary Trousdale on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and has contributed to the following films, The Great Mouse Detective, Oliver & Company and Atlantis The Lost Empire.
- Charles Thorson: A former designer for Disney in the 30's. Later left for work for Warner Bros. cartoons.
- James Algar: Animator on Snow White", the animation director of "The Sorceror's Apprentice" segment of Fantasia, and directed sequences of Bambi and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad''.
- John Hench: started in the Disney Story Department and later painted backgrounds for "The Nutcracker Suite" segment of Fantasia. He also worked on Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.
- Tony Anselmo: Initially joined Disney as an animator, but became Donald Duck's voice after the death of Clarence Nash.
- Sam Armstrong: Storyman and background artist from 1934 to 1941, director of Fantasia.
- Xavier "X" Atencio: Inbetweener and assistant animator on Fantasia. He also wrote the scripts for the original Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion attractions, as well as writing Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me and Grim Grinning Ghosts''.
- Frank Churchill: Music composer during the 1930s and early '40s. Composed songs for Snow White, Alice in Wonderland Dumbo and Bambi.
- John Lasseter: Got his start as an animator for Disney.
- Jeffrey Katzenberg: Became the studio head after Michael Eisner was named CEO. Had a hand in every animated film from The Black Cauldron (which he inherited) to Hercules (which was released after he left). Was known for his massive ego, which didn't mix well with Eisner's massive ego; he quit (or was fired from) Disney in 1994 and set up DreamWorks Animation, which became Disney's chief animation rival in the 2000s.
- Jack Hannah: Began working as an inbetweener and clean-up artist on many early Mickey, Donald, and Silly Symphony cartoons. He was a key animator on the Academy Award winning film "The Old Mill".
- Mark Kausler: Did animation for Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Mary Blair. The wife of Disney artist Lee Blair, her work first got Walt's attention during the South America tour that begat Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. Her unique, colorful designs can be seen on The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Song of the South, Melody Time, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. Also designed the "It's a Small, Small World" ride.
- Milt Gross: Helped storyboard for The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
- Oskar Fischinger: An abstract animator who briefly joined Disney and did work on the "Tocata and Fugue in D Minor" segment of Fantasia.
- Paul Smith
- Pinto Colvig: Storyman at Disney, and the original voice of Goofy and Pluto. He co-directed Mickey's Amateurs.
- Preston Blair: A animator for Disney, later famous for the animation he did for the girl from Tex Avery's "Red Hot Riding Hood".
- Ron Clements: Assistant and animator on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, The Rescuers, Pete's Dragon, The Fox and the Hound, and The Black Cauldron. He, along with John Musker, directed The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, and Aladdin.
- Salvador Dali: Alright, this is a stretch, as he didn't actually work for Disney so much as he did a collaboration with Walt on his animation project "Destino"—which wasn't finished until 2003.
- Stuart Buchanan: Disney animation staff member who voiced the Huntsman in Snow White, as well as Goofy on the Mickey Mouse radio show.
- Tad Stones: Creator of Darkwing Duck and Show Runner on shows like Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, and the Aladdin and Hercules series. Went on to direct two animated Hellboy DTV movies.
- Tim Burton: Hired to be part of the concept staff on The Black Cauldron. He also made two short films at Disney, "Vincent" and "Frankenweenie."
- T(hornton) Hee, worked for Disney as a caricaturist, stylist, director, and storyman. He co-directed the "Dance of the Hours" segment of Fantasia, directed the Honest John and Gideon sequence in Pinocchio, and worked on story in Make Mine Music.
- Tony Anselmo: The current voice of Donald Duck, having been so since 1985, and even before that, animating the duck in "Mickey's Christmas Carol" and then in "The Prince and the Pauper".
- Tyrus Wong: Chinese painter who did the backgrounds for Bambi.
- Ub Iwerks: He basically co-created Mickey Mouse, Nuff Said.
- Vladimir "Bill" Tytla: One of Disney's most skilled animators, doing the animation for Grumpy in Snow White, Chernabog in Fantasia, and Stromboli in Pinocchio. Left Disney in the early 40's to work at other studios like Famous Studios and Terrytoons.
- Walt Disney: While Walt didn't really draw anything, he was a director of many shorts. He stopped for a few years, did a brief return to directing in 1935 with The Golden Touch and loathed that short so much that he never directed another cartoon again.
- Walt Kelly: While most known for his Pogo newspaper comics, he got his start working at Disney.
- Walt Stanchfield: Was part of Disney's masterclasses for years. Much of his advice is included in the Disney book series "Drawn to Life".
- Webb Smith: Storyman, he is credited with coming up with the idea of storyboards.
- Will Finn: Supervising animator for Cogsworth on Beauty and the Beast, Iago on Aladdin and Laverne on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Co-director on Home on the Range.
- The Sherman Brothers: Richard and Robert Sherman, composers of several Disney songs from the 1960s and early '70s, including those featured in Mary Poppins, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and the Disney Theme Parks ride "It's a Small World."