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Disney Animation Sculptor Kent Melton Passes at 68

Kent Melton
photo: Courtesy of The Melton Family

Artist Kent Melton, an animation sculptor who created maquettes made of clay for classic Disney films in the 1990s and 2000s, has passed away at the age of 68.

His Disney Career

Melton was a key player in the Disney animation renaissance of the 1990s, working with the company into the 2000s.

His first Disney credit came on “Aladdin” (1992), where he worked on the Cave of Wonders’ tiger head that talks and moves. It is said to be the first computer-animated character ever done in a feature animated film.

That was followed by work on such other Disney studio films as “The Lion King” (1994), “Pocahontas” (1995), “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996), “Hercules” (1997), “Mulan” (1998), “Tarzan” (1999), “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001), “Treasure Planet” (2002), Pixar’s “The Incredibles” (2004), and “Tangled” (2010).

In a 2015 with 417 Magazine, Melton said of his work: “I’ll sculpt a maquette in a character moment that personifies who they are to the story. I have to put body language into the pose to express and sum up who this guy is to the story. I try to capture their likeness and essence of personality and position in the story. From that, they scan what I do and then do all other expressions and poses and repositions on the computer.”

Melton also worked with Disney creating porcelain-based sculptures for the Walt Disney Classics Collection of collectible merchandise.

Melton died at his home in Stone County, Missouri, of Lewy body dementia, according to family members.

Survivors include his wife, Martha; children Seth, Jordan and Nellie, an artist and animator; and grandchildren Persephone, Toby, Juliet and Charlie.