Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 99th birthday party of animator Willis Pyle. Pyle has had a cartoon career for the ages. On Pinocchio, he cleaned up Milt Kahl’s scene of Jiminy Cricket getting dressed while running to work. He was a key animator during the early days of UPA and animated on the studio’s first theatrical short for Columbia, Robin Hoodlum, as well as the first Mister Magoo short Ragtime Bear. In the classic UPA film Gerald McBoing Boing, Pyle animated the climactic scene of Gerald performing sound effects at the radio station.
I’m incredibly grateful that we still have living links to the Golden Age of animation like Willy, and attending his party made me wonder who else is still around. The list below is every animation industry veteran I can think of who is 85 years or older. I’m sure there are plenty of others too, and I invite you to help fill out the list. The growth and development of our art form owes much to these men and women.