The “Nine Old Men” of Disney Animation, and Lists of their Significant Works

In the early days of The Walt Disney Company, the central core of their animation department was composed of nine animators. These nine would work on some of the classical entries of the Disney Canon, eventually graduating to become directors and tutors for the next generation of the studio’s animators.

All of these Nine Old Men of Disney Animation have long since left us, although they are honored and remembered as Disney Legends in their company’s hall of fame. Today we’ll list the Nine Old Men along with the Disney animations where they did significant work, especially specific characters.

  • Eric Larson (1905-1988) – became trainer for new Disney animators in the 1970s
  1. Song of the South (1946) – Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear
  2. Peter Pan (1953) – flight over London
  3. Lady and the Tramp (1955) – Peg the Pekingese
  4. The Jungle Book (1967) – the vultures
  • Les Clark (1907-1979) – with Ub Iwerks, primary animator for Mickey Mouse; animated up to Lady and the Tramp; became director
  • Milt Kahl (1909-1987)
  1. Pinocchio (1940) – main character
  2. Melody Time (1948) – Slue-Foot Sue in “Pecos Bill” segment
  3. Peter Pan (1953) – main character
  4. The Sword in the Stone (1963) – Madam Mim
  5. The Jungle Book (1967) – Shere Khan
  6. The Aristocats (1970) – Edgar the butler
  7. Robin Hood (1973) – Sheriff of Nottingham
  8. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) – Tigger
  9. The Rescuers (1977) – Madam Medusa
  • Wolfgang Reitherman (1909-1985) – took over as producer after Walt Disney’s death until retirement
  1. Pinocchio (1940) – Monstro
  2. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) – Headless Horseman
  3. Peter Pan (1953) – crocodile
  4. Lady and the Tramp (1955) – the rat
  5. Sleeping Beauty (1959) – Prince Philip vs. dragon-Maleficent (animation director)
  • John Lounsbery (1911–1976) – became co-director of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too and The Rescuers
  1. Pinocchio (1940) – Foulfellow
  2. The Jungle Book (1967) – the elephants
  • Frank Thomas (1912–2004)
  1. Cinderella (1950) – Lady Tremaine
  2. Alice in Wonderland (1951) – Queen of Hearts
  3. Peter Pan (1953) – Captain Hook
  • Ollie Johnston (1912–2008)
  1. Cinderella (1950) – Drizella and Anastasia Tremaine
  2. Peter Pan (1953) – Captain Hook
  3. Robin Hood (1973) – Prince John
  • Marc Davis (1913–2000) – did character designs for Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion attractions
  1. Bambi (1942) – title character & Thumper
  2. Sleeping Beauty (1959) – Aurora, Maleficent and her raven
  3. 101 Dalmatians (1961) – Cruella De Vil
  • Ward Kimball (1914–2002)
  1. Pinocchio (1940) – Jiminy Cricket
  2. Cinderella (1950) – Jaq, Gus and Lucifer
  3. Alice in Wonderland (1951) – Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat
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