Disney animator Ollie Johnston dies at 95

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ollie Johnston in 1993
Image: J-E Nyström.

American animator Ollie Johnston, the last of Disney's so-called "Nine Old Men", has died at the age of 95.

Johnston died of natural causes on Monday in Sequim, Washington, according to Walt Disney Studios Vice President Howard E. Green.

Johnston worked on many of the Disney's classic films, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinnochio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Bambi (1942), and many others.

Cquote1.svg Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists. Cquote2.svg

Roy E. Disney

Johnston worked extensively with his best friend Frank Thomas, a fellow "old man" who died in 2004. The pair met at Stanford University in the 1930s and worked together until Thomas' death. They retired from animation in 1978, but remained popular speakers and authors about Disney and animation.

"Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists, one of the real pioneers of our art, one of the major participants in the blossoming of animation into the art form we know today," said Roy E. Disney.

Johnston devoted much of his retirement to writing and lecturing, but perhaps even more to model trains, a field in which he became considered one of the world's foremost experts.

Ollie Johnston's last film was The Fox and the Hound (1981) on which he worked as a supervisor.


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