Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Wilma Baker, RIP

Wilma Baker, a Disney veteran who went back to animation's first Golden Age, passed away on September 4 at age 99.

Above, Harvey Deneroff chats with Ms. Baker for the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists' Golden Award banquet. He writes:

... [Wilma Baker] was hired by Disney in 1937 as part of the final push to finish Snow White. As was standard procedure at the time, she entered the unpaid evening training program and was eventually judged good enough to be hired at $16.00 a week as a painter. In my interview she talks about the type of painting she was doing, including the use of transparent paint. She retired from Disney as head of Final Checking Department in 1983—she gets credit as a final checker on The Black Cauldron, which was released in 1985.

However, as the Animation Renaissance gained steam, she returned to animation, and is listed as a final checker on several major films, including FernGully: The Last Rainforest and Cool World, as well as doing paint markup on The Hunchback of Notre Dame back at Disney. ...

Ms. Baker's first husband was Louis Sammon, who was killed during World War II. She returned to the Studio after the war as a young widow and mother, where she met her second husband, Ted Baker, a studio editor.

After five decades in the animation industry (including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Bambi, and more than a half century later, Hunchback. she retired to Laguna Beach California in the 1990s.


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