Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The last of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men, Ollie Johnston, has passed away yesterday at the age of 95.
He was a fantastic directing animator at Walt Disney Studios from 1935 to 1978 and contributed to nearly all of Disney's classic animated movies including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, The Sword in the stone, 101 Dalmatians, The Jungle Book, and many more. In the video documentary below, he will introduced you to all the great characters he animated.
Born in Palo Alto, California, Johnston attended Stanford University- where he worked on campus humor magazine the Stanford Chaparral with fellow future animator Frank Thomas - then went on to the University of California, Berkeley, and Chouinard Art Institute.
Ollie married a fellow Disney employee, Ink and Paint artist Marie Worthey, in 1943.
Here, below, a picture of Ollie Johnston working on "Johnny Appleseed" in the 1940's.
His last full work for Disney came with The Rescuers, which was the last film of the second golden age of Disney animation that had begun in 1950 with Cinderella.
Johnston co-authored, with Frank Thomas, the classic reference book The Illusion of Life. This book helped to preserve the knowledge of the techniques that were developed at the studio in its golden age.
Ollie's lifelong hobby was live steam trains. Starting in 1949, he built a 1" scale backyard railroad, with three 1/12th scale locomotives, now owned by his sons. This railroad was one of the inspirations for Walt Disney to build his own backyard railroad, the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, which again inspired the building of the railroad in Disneyland.
But who better than him could tell you the story of his life as a Disney animator? So, join him in this three-part video, a wonderful documentary where Ollie tells us his secrets in animation!
Videos: copyright Disney
Many many thanks to Loosetoon for the great youtube links