Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Legendary Disney Animator Passed Away

It's like the official end of the classic era of Disney animation. Ollie Johnston, the last of Disney's "Nine Old Men" who animated Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi and other classic Disney films has passed away at the age of 95.

The AP Wire reports:
Perhaps the two most accomplished of the nine were Johnston and his close friend Frank Thomas, who died in 2004 at age 92. The pair, who met as art students at Stanford University in the 1930s, were hired by Disney for $17 a week at a time when he was expanding the studio to produce full-length feature films.

Johnston and Thomas and their families became next-door neighbors in the Los Angeles suburb of Flintridge, and during their 45-minute drive to the Disney Studios each day, they would devise fresh ideas for work.

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.

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