Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Disney Pioneer Animator Ollie Johnston Dies

May Ollie Johnston rest in peace. He brought dreams to children of many generations.

Veteran Disney animator Ollie Johnston dies at 95

Ollie Johnston, the last of the ''Nine Old Men'' who animated ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,'' ''Fantasia,'' ''Bambi'' and other classic Walt Disney films has died. He was 95.

Johnston died of natural causes Monday at a long-term care facility in Sequim, Wash., Walt Disney Studios Vice President Howard E. Green said Tuesday.

''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,'' Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney and director emeritus of the Walt Disney Co., said in a statement.

Walt Disney lightheartedly dubbed his team of crack animators his ''Nine Old Men,'' borrowing the phrase from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's description of the U.S. Supreme Court's members, who had angered the president by quashing many of his Depression-era New Deal programs.

- Associated Press

Photos by Jude Nagurney Camwell