Ollie Johnston, last of Walt’s Nine Old Men, Disney Animator dead at 95

Ollie Johnson drawing Johnny AppleseedSome very sad news to impart tonight. Jenny Lerew and a host of other animation sites are paying tribute to Ollie Johnston, who died today at the age of 95 in Sequim, Washington. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Ollie was the last remaining artist from the group that was known as Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men. These were the second generation animators who came to be known for their amazing ability to master the illusion of life through the art of animation.

Ollie contributed to many films including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi and Pinocchio. His last full work for Disney came with The Rescuers but he stayed into touch with the animation community and appeared in many talks and sessions over the years. His contribution to animation through books such as “Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life” and “The Disney Villain” are invaluable contributions to the animation world.

Ollie and Walt Disney also shared another passion–trains. Ollie built a 1″ scale backyard railroad, with three 1/12th scale locomotives. He also restored and operated a narrow-gauge engine, the Marie-E (named for his wife), that was recently purchased by John Lasseter and sent to operated up in Northern California.

It truly is the end of an era for animation.

Update: Rebekah at LaughingPlace.com passes along that the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society has an event scheduled for Sunday May 18th to dedicate Ollie’s Station at Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA. This will no doubt take on special meaning now.

Collected Tributes:

Frank and Ollie’s homepage.

Ollie’s wikipedia page.

Please email or comment to have your tribute included.

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