Disney Animator Was 87  

Burny Mattinson, who worked as an animator, director, producer and story artist during a 70-year career as the longest-serving “castmember” in the history of The Walt Disney Co., has died. He was 87.

Mattinson died after a short illness on Monday at a Canoga Park assisted living facility in Los Angeles, the studio announced. He was due to receive his 70th anniversary service award — the first ever — on June 4.

Mattinson was still working full-time at Walt Disney Animation Studios as a story consultant and mentor at the time of his death.

“Burny’s artistry, generosity and love of Disney Animation and the generations of storytellers that have come through our doors, for seven decades, has made us better — better artists, better technologists and better collaborators,” Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer Jennifer Lee said in a statement. “All of us who have had the honor to know him and learn from him will ensure his legacy carries on.”

Among Mattinson’s achievements were a solo directing credit on the featurette Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), which returned Mickey Mouse to the big screen for the first time in 30 years and earned him an Oscar nomination, and roles as producer and co-director on the feature The Great Mouse Detective (1986).

He also worked as an artist on such classics as Lady and the Tramp (1955), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), The Sword in the Stone (1963), The Jungle Book (1967), The Rescuers (1977), Big Hero 6 (2014) and Strange World (2022); served as a key member of the story team on Aladdin (1992), Beauty and the Beast (1993), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Tarzan (1997) and Mulan (1998); was a story supervisor on Winnie the Pooh (2011); and contributed to the 2007 Goofy short How to Hook Up Your Home Theater.

More to come …

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