... Toby Bluth, brother of Don Bluth and a fine artist and animator in his own right, passed away on October 31st, according to producer Gary Goldman. ...
According to Goldman, "Toby (Fredrick) Bluth passed away at noon on Halloween Day of a severe stroke. As many of you know, Toby was an extraordinary talent as a painter, an Art Director, a Director of live theater and has a long list of successes in theater and animated film. From his wikipedia: Fred "Toby" Bluth is an American who has worked on many Disney films and others as animator, Background artist and Production designer. He has also had a long career writing and illustrating Children’s Books, not to mention performing and or directing, nearly one hundred musicals, both on Broadway and off. Bluth's artwork is prominently displayed at most of the Disney theme parks around the world."
I got to know Toby when he was having trouble with Disney Toon Studios several years ago.
Toby was getting railroaded by a studio management that is (happily) long gone. He was doing superlative art direction on Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, creating background art for the picture that echoed Disney's Technicvolor classics from the late thirties. But he had the bad fortune to butt heads with a know-nothing exec (and trust me, "know nothing" is the right word here) and she made it her mission to push Toby out.
The Guild filed a wrongful termination grievance on Toby's behalf. We went to arbitration, had much back-and-forth, and ultimately reached a settlement. Toby didn't return to Disney, but he was a happier man for fighting the Mouse.
I saw Toby a few times after that. He was always upbeat and gracious, always radiated a joy of living. He had a long career in art and animation, and his work will be around a long time, giving people pleasure. I was sorry to hear of Toby passing, but glad that he lived a life where he could exercise his multiple talents.
Rest In Peace.