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Pres Romanillos, R.I.P.

Pres RomanillosPres and Jeannine Romanillos. Photo by Tim Hodge

Veteran feature animator Pres Romanillos passed away yesterday at the age of 47 after a battle with leukemia. His wife Jeannine posted on his Facebook group:

We have lost our wonderful innocent boy yesterday. Pres passed away peacefully on Saturday at 6 pm. He was surrounded by his family and friends. It is the next day and we are still waiting to wake up from this bad dream that just cannot be real. He had such love for all of you and that will stay with you. Goodbye, best friend, husband, lover, companion, shipmate, soulmate. I will love you forever, Jeannine

He most recently animated Prince Naveen in The Princess and the Frog. He studied fine arts and illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York before beginning his animation career at Disney on The Little Mermaid. He worked on a total of eight animated features at Disney, including supervising animator of the villain Shan-Yu in Mulan. He also animated on five DreamWorks features including The Road to El Dorado, Madagascar and Shrek 2. His drawings can be seen on this blog and this blog.

UPDATE: Obituary by Charles Solomon in the LA Times.

Remembrance by Stephanie Olivieri
Remembrance by Kevin Koch
Remembrance by Paul Briggs
Remembrance by Steve Hulett
Remembrance by Tim Hodge
Remembrance by Patrick Mate
Remembrance by Tom Sito

  • Jason

    much, much sadness….

  • Tim Hodge

    Everyone could use a friend like Pres.

    • John Ramirez

      Lucky for us, we had a friend in Pres! -John R

  • Rooniman

    A shame it is.

  • So sad. When I heard this it was a punch to the gut: I just don’t want to believe it. Our community has lost a valued colleague, friend, and inspiration. But our thoughts are with Jeannine who has the greatest loss to suffer.
    Goodbye Pres. We will always remember you.

  • Jonathan

    One of the nicest, most genuine guys you could ever meet.

  • Tom Jordan

    Pres was a fantastic guy. I learned a lot from him in the short time I knew him. He will be missed.

  • Such terrible news. While I had never met him, he must have been a really swell guy. Definitely a terrible loss. :(

  • Brad Constantine

    My most sincere condolences to all of the family and friends. You can tell how great the guy was by the way he affected all who worked with him. He left a legacy of great work as well to carry on through the ages.

  • John

    A great artist and inspiring teacher in a class he taught at the AAI years ago. Rest in peace Pres.

  • Lukemia took an amazing animator, friend and animation mentor this weekend but it can’t take the inspiration and beautiful drawings that Pres left us with. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in peace Pres and I hope we get to work together again some day.

  • I guess our union’s Pres-Aid fund-raising efforts won’t mean much now. I’m very sorry to hear the news, although I never got to know Pres very well. He was a very good animator and loved by many people. Jeannine, deepest sympathy to you at your great loss.

    • Tim Hodge

      Don’t worry Mark. The fund-raising is still important. Even though Press is gone, the hospital bills remain.

      • Ed

        Thank you Tim.

    • Kevin Koch

      Mark, I know you didn’t mean your comment in a negative way, but the charity art auction (which was really more of a personal thing than an official union effort) meant a great deal on several levels. Almost every day while in the hospital Pres would check out the Pres-Aid website and Facebook page to see the latest artwork donation, and read the comments of strangers and friends alike. He was always a generous person, and the generosity that flowed back through the auction was a huge bright spot in his last couple of months. It kept him connected to friends and the animation community, and he never had that horrible feeling that he was forgotten (ask anyone who has suffered a long, serious illness and hospitalization, and they’ll tell you this is probably the worst part of the whole ordeal).

      He was also deeply moved when he attended the auction itself, surrounded by friends, family, and so much love. Even if we hadn’t raised any real money, it was a wonderful, powerful event. But as Tim points out, those bills were/are real, and were overwhelming both Pres and Jeannine. That aspect of the auction can’t be diminished. The auction lifted a tremendous emotional burden off of both of them, and allowed them to focus on his health. The money we raised made a huge difference, and will continue to make a difference.

      I wish the whole effort ultimately had a happy ending, with Pres on the road to recovery. I wish I could look forward to the kinds of conversations with Pres that Erik Kuska refers to below (thanks, Erik, for that beautiful remembrance). Despite that, I don’t regret the effort one bit. I know it meant the world to both Pres and Jeannine, and to all the people who cared about Pres and wanted to help.

  • Pres was an amazing animator, inspiration, mentor, and friend. In the time I worked with him, I learned a lot from this great man. My sincerest condolences to Jeannine and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Rest in peace Pres.

  • Danny R. Santos

    He was the kindest person to work with, you meet people in the industry every day but he was a dime in a dozen. We will miss you Pres.

  • ekuska

    I met Pres during Spirit, and we often shared inspirations and frustrations during the production of that film. He was dedicated to making scenes/drawings/situations better, and every one our conversations seem to end with his wide toothy smile. He always made me feel better when I was around him, and his passion to ‘draw and discover’ still is inspiring today.

    I last saw him at last years Miyazaki event in LA. I loved seeing how Jeanine and he shared interests, and they had filled me in on his first bout with the disease. He had recovered, felt great, and was looking ahead to new things. He certainly didnt make a big deal of it, and we were soon talking about Totorro and Ponyo.

    I love talking with someone like that. Who can talk with inspiration, and assess, and ponder how other artists create such beautiful works. And I was most excited to hear about the personal film that he was working on. I thought it would be amazing to see what Pres would create without the filters of Hollywood.

    Regardless if I get to see his film or not, Im still inspired by it, and Pres.

    My sympathies to Jeannine and the family. Im honored to have known him. He will be greatly missed.

    erik K


  • Oh, Pres….. how can it be? There are no words for this. I can only say, thank you for being a dear friend, inspiration, true artistic spirit, and introducing me to your light!
    Pres made me an honorary member of the Shan Yu crew in Florida, and it was such a pleaure and thrill to get to know and learn from him! Whether rescuing animals with Jeannine, drawing like an angel at his disk, laughing and telling jokes over a glass of saki…. chomping on bbq ribs and chicken over dinner with friends…. feeding trout in Aspen, or saving a squirrel hit by a car on the street…. that is the type of guy he was.
    You are loved, will be missed, and we are the better for knowing you! Sail on, dear friend… be healthy, and feed Pickle lots of baloney sandwiches up there. Big hugs…

  • Jacques Muller

    I first met with Pres when working on Tummy Trouble at the Air Building in Glendale. He was a new trainee then. He was definitely an “artist accomplis”. He, Ruben Aquino and I hung out a lot together, playing pool table or watching TV series. He assisted me on MCSkat Cat in the Paula Abdul video “Opposites Attract”. We met again when he was rough inbetweening Aladdin for Glenn Keane ( whom he admired a lot like all of us ). He even gave me as a farewell present his unique Little Mermaid cel signed by Glenn. He then spread his wings to become the great animator that we all know. Pres was a good friend and a good man. Gone too soon, he will be greatly missed by so many people.

  • That’s awful, my condolences to his family and friends.

    I just recently learned of Pres, though I had unknowingly been a fan of his work, when I won the Shan Yu piece he’d donated to the Help the Hodges auction. I regret I’ll never get to thank him for it in person.

  • I’m so sorry to learn of his passing. I never knew the guy but I sure knew his name and his work. He really set the bar for a lot of animators and I’m sure his work will continue to inspire us and keep us on our toes. Regards to his family and friends. So sad.

  • Tony Bancroft

    I first met Pres when we were both young guys starting our careers at Disney in a summer internship. We both went on to work for Disney on many of the same movies and ultimatley, we were able to make him a supervising animator of Shan-Yu on the film I directed Mulan. He was a joy to work with and a dear friend. My condolences to his lovely wife and family. I will miss him very much and animation won’t be the same without him.

    God bless you Pres.

  • When I went to the union to try and find some way to get work here for everyone on Curious George the one person that got it really was Pres. He was aware of the hurt out there and wanted things to work. His opinion meant a lot.

    We never really worked together at DreamWorks but we hung out there. He loved the business and all the things that came with being an animator. He truly, truly loved it, it was him. What I am thankful for is he had time to spend with his family and friends before hand. I don’t know if you ever accept these things. To his family I wish them peace and the comfort of his love for them. That is the most important thing he left. And that is more important than any drawing or piece of art will ever be.

  • Henry Martinez

    I’ve known Pres since college and just want to add that he is a decent, sweet guy who lived a very full life, loved by all his friends. I only have fond memories of the guy. The world is a lot emptier with his passing.

  • I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to Pres Romanillos’ family, friends, and colleagues. When the sadness lessens, the good memories will still remain.

  • Ilyart1231

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of such an amazing person and artist. I went to Newton high school and SVA with Pres and he was a very close friend My condolensces to his family and through his art he will live forever
    -Ileana Hernandez