Ollie Johnston, animation pioneer was 95

Animation specialist Charles Solomon writes in the LAT obituary:

Oliver Martin "Ollie" Johnston Jr., the last living member of the celebrated "Nine Old Men" of Disney animation whose work set the standard by which all character animation is judged and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, has died. He was 95.

Johnston died Monday afternoon of natural causes at a long-term care facility in Sequim, Wash., according to a press release from Howard E. Green, vice president of studio communications at the Walt Disney Studios.

Although he made noteworthy contributions to short cartoons including "Pluto's Judgment Day" (1935), "Mickey's Rival" (1936) and "Reason and Emotion" (1943), Johnston's fame rested on his work on the Disney features, beginning with his animation of the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio. He helped to create such celebrated characters as Bambi and Thumper in "Bambi," the Three Good Fairies in "Sleeping Beauty" (1959), Pongo and Perdita in "101 Dalmatians" (1961); and Mowgli and Baloo in "The Jungle Book."

Johnston's work included such memorable moments as Pinocchio's nose growing when he lied to the Blue Fairy in the 1940 movie; Thumper reciting his lesson about eating clover greens under his mother's watchful eye in "Bambi" (1942), the befuddled Mr. Smee trying to follow Captain Hook's orders in "Peter Pan" (1953), Baloo performing "The Bare Necessities" in "The Jungle Book" (1967), and the penguin-waiters serving Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in "Mary Poppins" (1964).

Oscar-winning animator and historian John Canemaker said, "Ollie's death truly marks the end of the 'Golden Age' of hand-drawn Disney character animation that blossomed in the 1930s...."

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