Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bill Justice, RIP

A lot of animation deaths lately. And now one of the last of the Disney old-timers departs.

Bill Justice, a former Walt Disney Studios animator who worked on such classics as "Fantasia," "Bambi" and "Alice in Wonderland," and later joined Walt Disney Imagineering ... died Thursday, a day after he turned 97. ...

An Ohio native who began his career at Walt Disney Studios in 1937, Justice's credits as a Disney animator include "Saludos Amigos," "Victory Through Air Power," "The Three Caballeros," "Make Mine Music" and "Peter Pan." ...

Mr. Justice was always an engaged and enthusiastic guy. My parents hobnobbed with him back when I was a tyke, and I recall Bill J. as a buoyant personality. (Disney's was a small and close-knit company in the '50s and 60s, and lots of the artists hung together). Years later, I used to see Bill in and around Burbank since we lived a block apart.

There are few Hyperion Studio veterans still alive. Until today, Bill Justice was one of them. May he rest in peace.

14 comments:

Tom Sito said...

Bill was the last living connection with the Golden Age of Disney. They are all one now, in Animation Valhalla. And it is up to us, who learned from them, to tell of their greatness to generations to come.

Stephen Worth said...

Bob Givens assisted Marc Davis and Grim Natwick on Snow White. He's in his 90s and doing well. He's going to be speaking to the ASIFA Creative League at the end of the month.

Anonymous said...

Last I heard , *Don Lusk was still alive and well. I'm sure there are a few others such as Bob Givens as Stephen Worth mentions.


*Don Lusk is best known for his work at Disney's on the "Arabian Fish Dance" in The Nutcracker Suite in Fantasia, Cleo the goldfish in Pinocchio, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, worked on multiple segments in Melody Time (including Johnny Appleseed), later worked on Wendy in Peter Pan. He also worked on Song of the South, The Adventures of Icabod & Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians. He also had a long career as an animator and director at Hanna Barbera after he left Disney's in 1961 .

Jeff Massie said...

Not to pile on, but depending on how you define the "Golden Age," X Atencio, who was an animator, is still alive.

Anonymous said...

How's Tyrus Wong doing?

Steve Hulett said...

One hundred and going strong. And Walt Peregoy is still with us.

Steven Hartley said...

Tom, the Disney Golden Age isn't done yet - there's still Don Lusk, Tyrus Wong, Mel Shaw, Blaine Gibson, Xavier Attencio, Walt Peregoy, Gene Deitch, Bob Givens, Willis Pyle - those are the ones I can think at the top of my head.

I'm sad to hear about the passing of Bill Justice - only a few weeks ago I wrote a letter to him about what it was like at Disney's and I was hoping for a reply and some happy memories - but I felt I wrote the letter too late. But, I sure hope that Bill got the letter on time and would've loved to reply.

My article on the tribute is here:

http://blabbingonartsandculture.blogspot.com/2011/02/justice-for-disney-passing-of-bill.html

Anonymous said...

"the Disney Golden Age isn't done yet - there's still Don Lusk, Tyrus Wong, Mel Shaw, Blaine Gibson, Xavier Attencio, Walt Peregoy, Gene Deitch, Bob Givens, Willis Pyle"

I have the greatest respect for Gene Deitch and am glad that he is still active at age 87, but unlike the other artists you mention above Gene Deitch never worked at Disney's in the "Golden Age" or ever. Deitch was at UPA starting in the 1950's , then Terrytoons, and then as an Independent producer/director.

Sandro Cleuzo said...

I would love to meet and interview Don Lusk. I love his animation and I think he was one of the best.
Does anyone know how I can contact him?
I'd appreciate it.

Sandro

Steven Hartley said...

Sandro, talk to Joe Campana with the blog "Animation Who & Where", he's highly researched on animators - and he can probably tell you the address.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly Bill died penniless. His young widow took off with all his money and will not bury him. According to a person in the know. His remains are being held at a mortuary until someone pays up. I believe his sister is trying to do something. Can someone at the union step in and help out? I cannot reveal my name for fear of payback.

david said...

Dear Anonymous,

Could you please get of me regarding Bill.

Vincent Waller said...

Let us know if there is a problem with his arrangements. I'm sure a lot of us would be, well happy seems like the wrong word.,,,, Willing to help out.

Anonymous said...

Talk to some of the animators at Disney. They are working on it and would appreciate it. I can't say more to protect my source.

Site Meter