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Ollie Johnston, original Disney animator, dies at 95

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Ollie Johnston, original Disney animator, dies at 95

Old 04-16-08, 12:58 AM
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Ollie Johnston, original Disney animator, dies at 95

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The last of Walt Disney's original team of animators, known as the Nine Old Men, has died at the age of 95, a Walt Disney Co spokesman said on Tuesday.

Ollie Johnston worked for Disney for 43 years, drawing characters for animated Mickey Mouse short films before contributing to such classics such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," "Peter Pan" and "The Jungle Book."

Johnston died of natural causes in a long-term care facility in Sequim, Washington on Monday.

Born in Palo Alto, California in 1912, Johnston showed early artistic promise and attended Chouinart Art Institute in Los Angeles. During his final year of college in 1935, Disney approached Johnston to join his fledgling animation studio.

Starting with "Song of the South" in 1946, Johnston became directing animator and served in that capacity in nearly every subsequent film. He retired in 1978 after completing some work on his final film, "The Fox and the Hound."

Johnston devoted his retirement to writing, lecturing and consulting and to model trains, of which he was considered one of the world's foremost experts.

In 2005, he became the first animator awarded a National Medal of the Arts, and he and his lifelong friend and fellow Disney animator, Frank Thomas, were profiled in the 1995 documentary "Frank and Ollie."

Disney Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, who pioneered computer animated films such as "Toy Story" and "Cars," considered Johnston and Thomas as mentors.

"He taught me to always be aware of what a character is thinking, and we continue to make sure that every character we create at Pixar and Disney has a thought process and emotion that makes them come alive," Lasseter said in a statement.

Johnston is survived by two sons.



EDIT: OOPS! Didn't see the other thread already in place. Please delete.
Old 04-16-08, 01:23 AM
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Pictured on the right, from The Incredibles:

Old 04-16-08, 08:44 AM
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I was just thinking about him yesterday. Now I ordered the Illusion of Life, maybe I'll see Frank and Ollie tonight.

Last edited by bluetoast; 04-16-08 at 12:21 PM.
Old 04-16-08, 10:10 AM
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'eh, better thread title and an actual article in the main post not just a link, not to mention a couple posts already. This thread get's my vote.

He was a legend among men. I haven't seen Frank & Ollie, but need to.
Old 04-16-08, 11:39 AM
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Johnston worked as an assistant animator on "Snow White," became an animation supervisor on "Fantasia" and "Bambi" and animator on "Pinocchio."

He was especially proud of his work on "Bambi" and its classic scenes, including one depicting the heartbreaking death of Bambi's mother at the hands of a hunter. That scene has brought tears to the eyes of generations of young and old viewers.

"The mother's death showed how convincing we could be at presenting really strong emotion," he remarked in 1999.

Johnston's other credits included "Cinderella," "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan" "Lady and the Tramp," "Sleeping Beauty," "101 Dalmatians," "Mary Poppins," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," "Robin Hood" and "The Rescuers."

"(People) know his work. They know his characters. They've seen him act without realizing it," said film historian Leonard Maltin. "He was one of the pillars, one of the key contributors to the golden age of Disney animation."
Old 04-16-08, 12:22 PM
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The tributes are pouring in. Here are a few words from Brad Bird:


And there are more on the front page:

Old 04-16-08, 06:59 PM
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As much as I love Pixar (and I really do), I miss hand-drawn Disney animation. Ollie and the other eight gentlemen were responsible for so much joy and entertainment in my life. This makes me really

Originally Posted by bluetoast
The tributes are pouring in. Here are a few words from Brad Bird:

Reading about the jar of shavings gave me a slight lump in my throat.

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