Marc Davis - Legendary Disney Animator - Passes Away
(January 14, 2000) Marc Davis, one of the grand masters of Disney
animation and a celebrated member of Walt Disney's trusted inner
circle known as the "nine old men," passed away on Wednesday
(1/12) at Glendale Memorial Hospital following a short illness.
He was 86 years old.
was regarded as one of the top talents ever to work in the animation
medium and one of Disney's all-time greatest animators and Imagineers.
He earned a reputation for being Disney's "ladies' man"
because of his memorable female character creations that included
Cinderella, Alice, Tinker Bell, Briar Rose, Maleficent and Cruella
fine artist in his own right, Davis' paintings are currently being
exhibited at Larry Smith Fine Arts Gallery in Los Angeles. The
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has conducted its
annual "Marc Davis Lecture on Animation" since 1994.
his 43-year association with the Studio, Davis was responsible
for designing and bringing life to such classic characters as
Bambi, Cinderella, Alice, Briar Rose and Maleficent (from "Sleeping
Beauty"), and Cruella De Vil.
went on to play a key role in the creative planning for the original
Disneyland, for which he developed story and character concepts
for such favorite attractions as "It's a Small World,"
"The Enchanted Tiki Room," "Pirates of the Caribbean,"
"Jungle Cruise," "Carousel of Progress" and
"Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln."
on Davis' passing, Roy E. Disney, vice chairman of The Walt Disney
Company, said: "We have lost one of the great giants of our
industry. Marc was a true renaissance man and an amazing talent
who helped to define the art of animation and raise it to incredible
abilities as a draftsman were second to none and as a result he
often took on the most complicated assignments of drawing heroines
and villainesses. He also played a great role in creating some
of the most innovative and popular attractions for our theme parks.
high standards and incredible achievements serve as great inspirations
to today's artists and animators, and he will be sorely missed
by his Disney family and his legions of fans the world over."
only son of Harry and Mildred Davis, Marc was born in Bakersfield,
Calif. After high school, he enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute
for his first formal art training, after which he attended the
California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and the Otis Art
Institute of Los Angeles.
went to work for Walt Disney in 1935 as an apprentice animator.
He was promoted to assistant animator when Snow White and the
Seven Dwarfs went into production. Following that, Davis spent
six years doing character design and storyboards for Bambi.
skills with personality animation provided a breakthrough on that
film and played a key role in making that film a success. He is
credited with developing the characters of young Bambi and Thumper.
his numerous Disney feature credits, Davis served as a directing
animator for Song of the South, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland,
Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians. He was an animator
on Bambi, Fun and Fancy Free and The Adventures of Ichabod and
Davis received credit for "cartoon story treatment"
for So Dear to My Heart. He also animated on numerous shorts including
"Adventures in Music: Melody" and "Toot, Whistle,
Plunk and Boom."
joined Walt Disney Imagineering in 1961 and remained there until
his retirement in 1978. He developed story and character concepts
for numerous attractions including the four New York World's Fair
shows; "Country Bear Jamboree," "Haunted Mansion,"
"Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln," "Jungle Cruise,"
"Nature's Wonderland," "The Enchanted Tiki Room,"
"Pirates of the Caribbean" and "America Sings."
his retirement, he returned to Imagineering as a consultant on
"World of Motion" for EPCOT Center and numerous attractions
for Tokyo Disneyland.
addition to his distinguished career as an artist, animator and
imagineer, Davis taught advanced classes in drawing for 17 years
at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.
many distinctions and awards include a 1992 salute from the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1989, he was honored at
the Annecy Film Festival and also received a Disney Legends Award
from the Studio. The International Animation Society, ASIFA, also
presented him with their top honor, the Winsor McCay Award.
personal paintings and drawings are currently on exhibit at the
Larry Smith Fine Arts Gallery in Los Angeles. His impressive artistry
included such diverse subjects as bulls and bullfighters, dancers
and harlequins as well as the warriors and jungle life of New
evocative New Guinea paintings have been collected for a forthcoming
book, "The Bite of the Crocodile." He had also completed
an unpublished book on the anatomy of motion.
is survived by his wife of 44 years, Alice. There will be no funeral
service, and plans for a memorial service will be announced shortly.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to CalArts
(California Institute of the Arts).
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