Bing Search

Movie News

©Disney / 'Lady and the Tramp'
© Disney / 'Lady and the Tramp'
'Lady and the Tramp' animator John Wilson dies at 93

(Reuters) -- British-born animator and producer John David Wilson, famed for the "Grease" and "Lady and the Tramp" films, has died at the age of 93, his wife told Reuters on Wednesday.

The World War II veteran animated the opening sequence for the 1978 high school musical film "Grease" that starred John Travolta, and in a long career at Disney worked on much-loved characters Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck.

Bing: More on John Wilson

Wilson, who honed his talent for cartoons while recovering from wounds sustained during the African campaign in 1941 with the London Rifle Brigade, joined the art department of Pinewood Studios after the war.

There he worked on films such as "Great Expectations" and "The Thief of Bagdad" before moving to another studio and eventually to the United States in 1950 to work for Walt Disney Studios, where he was involved in animating the 1955 dog romance "Lady and the Tramp".

Wilson, who suffered from Alzheimer's in his last four years, also worked on projects with other studios such as "Mr. Magoo" for UPA and "The Flintstones" for Hanna-Barbera.

He also founded his own animation company, Fine Arts Films, in 1955, where his greatest early success came with "Petroushka," an adaptation of Igor Stravinsky's famous ballet.

Stravinsky himself conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra for the cartoon film, which debuted in prime time on American television. "Petroushka" went on to become the first animated film accepted by the Venice Film Festival.

In 1960, using the latest technology, Wilson created "Journey to the Stars" for the NASA Space Pavilion at the Seattle World's Fair. The Cinerama film was seen by over seven million visitors.

Wilson is credited as the creator of the conceptual music video and his five-minute animated shorts, featuring the most popular music of the 1970s, were highlights on CBS-TV's weekly "Sonny and Cher Show."

Songs he worked on included Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" and Jim Croce's "Leroy Brown."

A painter as well as an animator, Wilson exhibited oil paintings, watercolors and pastels worldwide and some were hung in the Summer Exhibition at London's Royal Academy.

He died on June 20 in Blackpool, England, his wife said.

Jul 3, 2013 10:25AM

Rest in peace, Mr. John David Wilson.  Another Disney animator great gone. God bless you!  Thank you for all your wonderful works.   Condolences, prayers and thoughts to your family and friends. 

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
showtimes & tickets
Search by location, title, or genre: