Disney Legend Burny Mattinson Dies at 87

The Walt Disney Firm has shared the unhappy information that Disney Legend Burny Mattinson, who labored as an animator, director, producer, and story artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios throughout a 70-year profession, handed away Monday, February 27, at Canyon Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation Middle in Canoga Park, California, following a brief sickness. He was 87 years previous.

Mattinson was the corporate’s longest-serving worker, as a consequence of obtain his seventieth anniversary service award (the primary ever) on June 4.

His many achievements embrace solo directing credit score on the animated featurette, Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), which noticed Mickey Mouse return to the silver display screen for the primary time in 30 years, and a task as producer in addition to co-director of the 1986 Disney function The Nice Mouse Detective.

Jennifer Lee, chief artistic officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios, mentioned, “Burny’s artistry, generosity, and love of Disney Animation and the generations of storytellers which have come by means of our doorways, for seven many years, has made us higher—higher artists, higher technologists, and higher collaborators. All of us who’ve had the dignity to know him and study from him will guarantee his legacy carries on.”

Academy Award-winning Disney director Don Corridor mentioned, “For nearly 30 years, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside Burny Mattinson, from Winnie the Pooh to Huge Hero 6 to, most just lately, Unusual World. I’ve marveled at his artistry, loved his good humor, and sat enraptured by his tales of Disney historical past. At 18 years previous, he adopted his dream of working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, and for nearly 70 years he lived that dream day-after-day, inspiring all of us who had the nice fortune to observe in his footsteps. I really like him dearly.”

Mattinson was nonetheless working full-time at Walt Disney Animation Studios as a narrative advisor and mentor on the time of his passing. Along with Unusual World (2022) and Huge Hero 6 (2014), he labored as an artist on such classics as Girl and the Tramp (1955), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), The Sword within the Stone (1963), The Jungle Ebook (1967), and The Rescuers (1977). He served as a key member of the story workforce on up to date Disney classics together with Aladdin (1992), Magnificence and the Beast (1993), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Tarzan (1997), and Mulan (1998). He served because the story supervisor on the 2011 theatrical function Winnie the Pooh and contributed to the 2007 Goofy brief The right way to Hook Up Your Dwelling Theater.

Legendary Disney animator Eric Goldberg, an in depth buddy and colleague, mentioned, “Burny was the Renaissance man of Disney Animation. He actually did all the things that could possibly be carried out on the studio—assistant animator, animator, story artist, producer, and director of many movies that made an indelible mark on our collective appreciation of the Disney ethos. He was additionally, when he began, site visitors boy to Walt, giving Walt his weekly spending money.”

Talking of Mattinson’s artwork, Goldberg added, “Burny was low-key, charming, creative, and fantastically gifted as a draftsperson and a storyteller. His storyboards had been fantastically acted and splendidly atmospheric, which I first encountered once I joined the studio for Aladdin. The extra I noticed of his work, the extra I grew to become in awe of his breadth of expertise. I worth his cheerful friendship and lasting inspiration to me and so many different animation artists. He might be missed, however not forgotten.”

Burnett Mattinson was born in San Francisco on Could 13, 1935, the primary of two youngsters. Earlier than he was 6 years previous, his mom took him to the San Francisco Orpheum Theatre, the place he noticed Walt Disney’s Pinocchio. “Ever since I noticed that movie, this was my dream—to work on this enterprise,” Mattinson as soon as recalled. “So, I labored day-after-day, drawing.”

His father, a drummer with Horace Heidt’s Huge Band, moved the household to Los Angeles after the band’s demise in 1945, and Mattinson continued drawing by means of his faculty years. By the point he was 12, he was skillfully drawing Disney-style cartoons, and he saved dreaming of being a Disney artist.

After his highschool commencement, his mom drove him to Burbank and dropped him off on the Studio gate. A kindly guard took a have a look at {the teenager}’s portfolio and referred to as the pinnacle of the personnel division. Mattinson obtained an interview and a job, starting within the mailroom. Six months later, and with no formal artwork coaching, he began work as an in-betweener on Girl and the Tramp.

He was promoted to assistant animator underneath Disney Legend Marc Davis on Sleeping Magnificence and continued in that capability on One Hundred and One Dalmatians. When that movie ended, he started a 12-year stint with Disney Legend Eric Larson, engaged on quite a lot of initiatives together with Walt Disney’s Great World of Shade tv sequence (1961-1979), The Sword within the Stone, Mary Poppins (1964), The Jungle Ebook, and The Aristocats (1970).

After finishing an eight-week inner coaching program, Mattinson grew to become an animator on Robin Hood (1973) and a key animator on Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too (1974), working with Disney Legend Ollie Johnston. Disney Legend Frank Thomas noticed Mattinson’s thumbnail sketches and requested him to assist on storyboards for The Rescuers. “Storyboards are as near path as you will get,” Mattinson later mentioned. “You’re telling cameras the place to go, what’s occurring onscreen, the place to chop, and actually making a blueprint for the movie.”

Impressed by a Disneyland Data Christmas album, Mattinson openly despatched it, together with a observe containing an concept for a movie, to Ron Miller, then head of the studio. The following day, Mattinson was summoned by Miller. Mattinson feared that his boldness had been a gaffe, however was pleasantly stunned when the studio chief agreed together with his concept, assigning the startled animator to direct Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which he additionally produced. This success led to his contribution as producer and director on The Nice Mouse Detective.

“Animation is 75 % pondering and 25 % drawing,” Mattinson as soon as mentioned. “Every thing should be rigorously thought out first. Our animators not solely need to assume like actors but additionally determine methods to get that efficiency throughout on paper and on the display screen. Our characters pause to assume and connive. You may see it of their eyes.”

He added, “The vital factor to recollect about good animation is that much less is extra. Shifting the characters an excessive amount of is the signal of an actual beginner. We put our efforts into extra delicate, rigorously thought out actions that talk the purpose clearly and in an entertaining approach.”

Mattinson was named a Disney Legend in 2008. He set the solid member longevity report on March 5, 2018, when he handed the earlier report—held by Disney artist, Imagineer, and Disney Legend John Hench—of 64 years, eight months, and 29 days (or 23,651 days).

When requested to mirror on his lengthy Disney profession on the half-century mark, Mattinson mentioned, “I imply, 50 years is a very long time, however I nonetheless really feel like that 18-year-old child that got here right here again in ’53, ? I by no means really feel like I’ve gotten previous.”

Mattinson is survived by his spouse, Ellen Siirola; his son, Brett Mattinson, and his spouse, Kelly, and their two youngsters; and his daughter, Genny, her husband Larry Ellena, and their two youngsters. Funeral companies might be personal, and he might be laid to relaxation at Forest Garden, Hollywood Hills. In lieu of flowers, donations might be made to the MPTF (Movement Image and Tv Fund) in Woodland Hills, California.

Supply: The Walt Disney Firm

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Dan Sarto is Writer and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Community.