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Happy 100th, Tyrus Wong!

Tyrus Wong

Brew reader Alex Rannie reminds us that Monday, October 25, marked the centennial birthday of animation legend Tyrus Wong and we hope you’ll join us in wishing him a very happy birthday. The Chinese-born artist worked at Disney between 1938 and 1941 where he famously art directed Bambi, though his contribution was never properly acknowledged and he was only credited as a background painter.

Tyrus Wong

In spite of his contributions to the classic Disney feature, Wong considers animation to be “a minor, very small part” of his artistic life, that also included twenty-six years as a film production illustrator at Warner Bros. where he worked on films like Rebel Without a Cause, Around the World in Eighty Days and The Wild Bunch. He also worked for many years as a greeting card designer.

Below is a 2007 interview with Wong about his early artistic career:

More links about Ty Wong:
Five-part video series about his life on PBS

Appreciation of Wong’s work on Bambi by Hans Bacher

A bio and incredible examples of his art from an exhibition catalog

Video interview with Wong about growing up in LA

  • If you ever get the chance to meet Mr. Wong, I guarantee you he’ll want to talk about kites. Last I heard, he was still building them and flying them. To see some footage of the man and his kites, click here:

  • A very happy 100th birthday to the legendary Mr Wong!!

  • Happy Birthday Mr. Wong, and thank you for so much beauty!

  • Happy Birthday Mr. Wong!

  • Tee

    The man is amazing. Several years ago, I learned about his contribution to animation and his beautiful work since leaving the industry. He is just simply remarkable in every way.

    Happy Birthday Mr. Wong!

  • greg m.

    Happy Birthday Mr. Wong!!!

    I was SHOCKED to hear him say that during his ENTIRE time at Disney (3 1/2 years) that he NEVER met Walt Disney. That stinks. Tyrus Wong is responsible for the look of “Bambi” – how could that possibly be??!!!

  • Geneva

    Wow– that is so awesome! Happy birthday to a wonderful artist!

  • He may consider it a minor part of his own career, but his work is among the most spectacular ever created for animated film. Thank you for bringing attention to him and sharing the links.

  • matt d. lee

    What an amazing artist. Happy Birthday Mr. Wong!

  • eeteed

    happy birthday to a living legend!

  • rakesh

    Thank you AMid. Thank you Mr. Wong.

  • Happy birthday Mr. Wong!

    This is the first I’ve heard of the man. It’s great to hear about an artist from the golden age without also hearing that they’ve just died, as is so often the case.

  • Happy birthday to Mr. Wong!
    I wish you 100 more years

  • Wow, what an achievement. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know he was still alive. Happy Birthday Mr. Wong! You’re work is such an inspiration. :)

  • It’s good to see that some animators in the Golden Age are still alive: Joe Campana told me that he went to his 100th birthday party and Tyrus kept joking saying he’s turned 39! Bless.

    I can say that I know a few artists in that period who are still with us: Bill Justice, Don Lusk, Xavier Attenico, Dickie Jones, just to name a few.

  • A finer man I’ve never met. He deserves every day of his long life. Never has someone given so much to animation in such a short period of time. It is a shame that he didn’t receive the recognition he deserved at the time Bambi was being made and released, but his ability to move on and live a full, creative live without bitterness is something for all of us to aspire to. Thank you, Mr. Wong, and happy birthday.

  • Matt

    He was credited in a way on the last released Bambi dvd. There’s a long section interviewing him and the story behind him creating the look. As a painter, he’s a huge influence of mine.

  • If that’s Wong I don’t want to be wight. Happy Birthday!

  • james madison

    Wow!!! Great news!

    Hppy Birthday, Mr. Wong!

  • Shannon

    He looks really good for 100! We could only wish to reach that age and be in good shape. Must be some Asian secret ;D

  • I saw his concept art for Bambi in a dsieny book and it is incredible, i didn´t know he was still alive.
    Cheers for him :)

  • Thanks Amid for sharing our videos of Tyrus Wong. He’s an amazing individual!

    – KCET Departures