Ollie Johnston 1912-2008

olliesleeping.jpg

The end of an era.

The last of the Nine Old Men, Ollie Johnston, passed away today in Sequim, Washington at the age of 95. Jenny Lerew confirms it.

UPDATE (5:18pm): Brad Bird, the Oscar-winning director of Ratatouille and The Incredibles, remembers Ollie Johnston.

UPDATE (5:05pm): A fun Ollie-related image I found in my files. It’s a drawing by Ward Kimball of the 1-D animation unit at Disney. Left to right: Ward Kimball, Clarke Mallery, Ollie Johnston, Mary Schuster and Al Bertino.

Ollie Johnston by Ward Kimball

UPDATE (3:50pm): More good tributes to Ollie from:
Floyd Norman
Michael Barrier
Will Finn
Steve Hulett
Emru Townsend

UPDATE (12:20pm): The official statement from the Walt Disney Company about Johnston’s passing.

UPDATE (9:00am): Oscar-winning animator, animation historian and author of Disney’s Nine Old Men, John Canemaker, remembers Ollie Johnston.

UPDATE (5:42am): This morning, Hans Perk posted a brief video he took of Ollie Johnston on July 20, 2005. In it, Johnston eloquently explains the importance of creating believable animated characters that resonate with audiences. Hans also has some great Ollie-related posts on his blog here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE (4:54am): Tributes to Johnston, from people who knew him personally and others who simply admired his work, are appearing throughout the online community. Here are some of the better ones:
Pete Emslie
Rhett Wickham
Michael J. Ruocco
Floyd Bishop
Kate and Terry
Frank Dormer

UPDATE (10:17pm): A terrific video below in which Glen Keane examines the drawings and animation style of Ollie Johnston. Also be sure to see the three-part Disney “Family Album” documentary about Ollie.

UPDATE (9:35 pm): Howard Green sent us this quote from Roy Disney…

“Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists, one of the real pioneers of our art, one of the major participants in the blossoming of animation into the art form we know today. One of Ollie’s strongest beliefs was that his characters should think first, then act…and they all did. He brought warmth and wit and sly humor and a wonderful gentleness to every character he animated. He brought all those same qualities to his life, and to all of our lives who knew him. We will miss him greatly, but we were all enormously enriched by him.”

UPDATE: Here are handy lists of all the characters that Ollie animated in the Disney features and shorts.

UPDATE: There are a couple of interviews with Ollie alone and a few of him and Frank, posted on the Disney Family Museum website, well worth reading.

UPDATE: Rebekah Mosely informs us that the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society has a previously planned event on Sunday May 18th at 2pm to dedicate Ollie Johnston’s Train Station at Griffith Park in LA. Their calendar and organization contact information can be found here.


  • Matt Sullivan

    Too bad. He was truly part of history. RIP and godspeed Ollie.

  • http://www.awprunes.blogspot.com/ Larry Levine

    Rest in Peace, Ollie.

    The best tribute I can think of is for everyone to watch the “Frank & Ollie” DVD.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Goodbye, Ollie. Thanks for everything.

  • Vixie

    I had the honor of meeting Ollie and Frank at an event several years ago, one of the high points of my cel collecting days. Both were very nice and cordial, as opposed to the Disney personnel with them. I will never forget them asking me where I was from, which is Peoria, and Frank Thomas started singing a song about Peoria. I was able to ask them a question about Bambi, and they were very nice in answering for me. Both very nice men, and their work will live on. Definitely the end of an era, their like will never come again.

  • Mr. Semaj

    Before Frank Thomas’ death, I had always believed that because Frank and Ollie were such close friends, they would die together.

    Goodbye, man. :(

  • http://philcrow.blogspot.com Philip Crow

    This is a sad day.

  • Paul

    Nilknarf and Revilo will never be the same :(

  • http://www.toddjacobsen.com Todd Jacobsen

    Truly a sad day. My condolences to his family and all who knew him well.

  • http://www.fredboot.com/dotclear/ Fred Boot

    The Nine Old Men are definitively mythical. RIP.

  • Emily

    Very sad :(

    RIP Ollie.

  • Murray Bain

    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=AhrwSm6DcpM

    Rufus IS Ollie. His work will live on forever, and continue to inspire generations of artists with his soulful performances.

  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com/ Emmett Goodman

    You will truly be missed, Mr. Johnston.

  • Paul N

    We all knew this day was coming sooner rather than later, but it doesn’t lessen the sting. Rest in peace Ollie, and thanks.

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    There’s a quote of a quote in The Illusion of Life, which I thought of immediately after reading this headline:

    “The day after Walt died, Woolie Reitherman said, ‘From this day on it will never be like it was, but only as each person remembers it.’”

    I’m just sorry I’m too young to have never really known any of them.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    *sigh* Another chapter closes in the history of animation.

  • http://www.funnypagesprod.com Tom Bancroft

    I remember meeting about 5 of the nine old men (Ollie was one, of course) back at the opening of the Disney/MGM studio (later called Walt Disney Feature Animation, Florida) back in 1989. Frank and Ollie were always so giving and truly loved talking about animation. Their lives and their books have touched and taught us all. God bless you Ollie! Truly an end of an era.

  • http://www.octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    Rest in Peace, Ollie. :(

  • Keith Paynter

    “There’s no school like the old school.”

    Thanks, Ollie. Godspeed.

  • Brad Constantine

    RIP Ollie! You were the reason I became an animator. Thanks for
    letting me sit with you and ask endless questions about everything when I was young. He was one of the nicest guys I ever met and one of the great artists of all time. We all owe a debt of gratitude for
    his passing on the true secrets of magic to a new generation. Truly the end of an era. I’m sure gonna miss him.

  • Marc G.

    I’m just beginning to study animation. A few weeks ago, our instructor treated us to a well-worn VHS tape of “Frank & Ollie”. I had known about these two legendary men, of course, but it brought a smile to my face to see such a strong friendship even at their old age.

    Thanks for the memories, Mr. Johnston.

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber

    Now he joins his fellows and becomes the stuff of legends to all us up and comers.

    Goodbye Ollie.

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    I rued the day this would come. But at least now Ollie’s at peace, leaving such a remarkable and memorable legacy for all of us to follow. Such a wonderful man, he was.

    At least now all of the Nine Old Men are together again. God Bless You, Ollie!

  • Katie Cropper

    OH no not Ollie. :( I was just flipping through illusion of life the other day and thought of him wishing I could have met any of the 9 old masterful men. God love ya Ollie you were an animation treasure.

  • http://www.scuzzbopper.blogspot.com Ken Priebe

    Let me join everyone in the animation community by raising a glass to a great animator who left us with inspiring work and valuable knowledge of this amazing art form.

    God bless and thank you!

  • Danny R. Santos

    I had the pleasure of meeting Marc Davis one summer in the late 90″s. My experience with meeting Marc was of outmost graditude towards their mentoring, I learned a fermentable amount of knowledege on the process of not just making “quote” on “quote” an animated feature but “quote” on “quote” a sure fire, pee in your pants kind of cinematic hit. Nowadays as heroes of those glory days keep passing, Can’t help witness but the desecration of every thing that was invented, developed and improved until Walt died and the persistance that Marc, Ollie, Frank, Milt and countless other animators tried to instill into our passionate collective minds to prolong a medium that is essential to the imagination of every one who dreams. I can’t wait to see what the Nine Old Men and Walt are cooking up there in heaven, but for now I would like to live a bit longer, and shout and holler and perhaps get some attention to create something that was inspired by some of the greats. God Speed Ollie, god bless.

  • http://www.daganm.blogspot.com Dagan

    Thank you for all of the wonderful inspiration, Ollie.

    We’ll always have your amazing work to keep us smiling. The animation community and the entire world have so much to remember you by.

  • vineet

    I know it sounds stupid, but I’d hoped that someday maybe I could meet Ollie. “Frank and Ollie” singlehandedly inspired me to keep going at my studies, to keep on working no matter how futile it seemed, to take inspiration from the world around me.
    Here’s to the great teacher I’ll never meet, let’s up we can live up to the legacy the man’s left behind.

  • K. Borcz

    OMG I just found out, I’ve been pretty much under a rock for the last few hours. Thank you Ollie for all your inspiring work!

    ;(

  • http://weirdocorner.blogspot.com Weirdo

    I wish to send my condolences to the family and to the Disney studios. His animation in “The Jungle Book” is one of my favorites of his, along with the Doorknob scene in “Alice In Wonderland”. Goodbye Ollie Johnston, and here’s hoping you’re reunited with Frank and Walt.

  • Betsy Tabor

    Thank you for all the magic and memories, Ollie-you will not be forgotten (Say hi to the other 8 and Walt too for us).

    Here’s to you Ollie, rest in peace.

  • Tom

    I don’t know why, but Ollie Johnston’s death hit me harder emotionally than I would have thought. You always think that with at least one of the great animators left, we’d be alright, but now that’s sadly no longer the case. The end of an era indeed.

    It’s sad, but not surprising. He will definitely be missed.

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    I, too, had the (extreeeeme) pleasure of meeting him (and the 9 Old Men) at the premiere of “Fox & Hound!” It was, truly, like meeting God!! We, of course, will all miss him terribly!!

  • Pedro Nakama

    And right now the heads of Disney Animation Studios are asking themselves, “Who was Ollie Johnston?”

  • http://thadkomorowski.com Thad

    R.I.P. Ollie.

  • Anita

    Ollie and the rest of the Nine old men were the first inspirations for my becoming an animator, and the reason why I’m almost done with art school. Today is a sad day, and Ollie will be greatly missed all around the world. The most wonderful thing though is that he can live on through his wondeful artwork that can inspire for generations to come.
    RIP Ollie.

  • http://www.mukpuddy.blogspot.com Mukpuddy

    Oh man, this sux! Such an inspiration to so many people, he will be sorely missed.

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    Man, you just know a day like this comes for everyone, but it’s still such a punch in the gut. I did a post over on Frederator about my day with Frank and Ollie in 2002. http://www.frederatorblogs.com/post/5437

    He’ll be missed, but he’s earned the rest. Ninety six is a hell of a run.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    What a wonderful talent he had and what a wonderful life! It’s great that he lived to get the recognition he deserved and great that he helped so many people along the way.

  • http://davealert.blogspot.com/ Dave Dick

    Best wishes to all his friends and family.

    Thanks for everything, Ollie. You left enough to entertain and inspire for a very long time :)

  • DAR

    Somewhere up in heaven Walt is pitching the greatest animated story ever. And Ollie and the rest of the Nine Old Men are working their magic for us to see one day. Thank you to Ollie and the rest of these wonderful men for so many lasting memories.

  • http://scienteers.com David Davis

    This is terribly sad. I’d of loved to of met him. I hope I can have even half the impact he did in animation one day.

  • http://animationpodcast.com Clay Kaytis

    The last of nine who reached heights of animation that sometimes seem unattainable. His example of excellence will continue to inspire generations of animators.

    Bye Ollie.

  • Rob Fendler

    The air was still and crisp
    the moment he left.
    He spent his life creating life,
    enriching the lives of us all.
    The last of the old men
    but he is not alone.
    He is there smiling
    in that magnificent locomotive
    with his wife and old friend by his side.
    In that still and crisp air,
    Just as the stars begin to shine,
    a roaring steam whistle cries out
    Ollie says goodbye

  • http://ufotofu.net Aron

    We’re gonna miss ya, Ollie!

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Goodbye Ollie, I hope it was as much fun for you as it was for all of us.

    XO

  • http://dmgermain.blogspot.com/ David Germain

    Ah, the 9 old men are together again at last. R.I.P. Mr. Johnston. You helped set the bar that more of us should strive to meet.

  • Bugsmer

    The last of the old men died an old man. It sounds like he lived a long and full life. I’m glad that he brought so much happiness, amazement and wonder through his work for the many generations of people who enjoyed his animation throughout his lifetime. He’s been working for a good 70 years. He can rest now, and revel in the contentment that comes with knowing he did his job well, and that for the most part he enjoyed doing it. The world is richer because of this man and those who came before him, and now the succeeding generations of animators can eventually form their old men, who can eventually teach other future old men. Rest in peace, Ollie Johnston.

  • CP

    This is sad news indeed. RIP Ollie.

  • http://pixaranimation.blogspot.com Chad Kerychuk

    “No school like the Old School.”

    Indeed. :)

  • http://trevour.blogspot.com Trevour

    Thanks for all the great memories, Ollie. I’m sure you’ve met up with Marie by now. :-)

  • Zep

    “And right now the heads of Disney Animation Studios are asking themselves, “Who was Ollie Johnston?”

    I can assure you they most certainly are not. You apparently know nothing about “Disney Animation Studios”. The heads loved Ollie Johnston as much as anyone not in his family, but from his profession could.

    Back on topic: Thanks, Ollie.

  • http://geritopiablogspot.com GeeVee

    ‘Never met Ollie but his influence as the co-author of “The Illusion of Life” was very instrumental in bridging so many questions I had about the Disney approach to animation at a time when such information was scarce. He was obviously a very talented and thoughtful guy. Anybody who spends a lifetime carrying out their creative passion, all the while preserving a sense of playfulness, and having such a positive effect on so many people gets my appreciative nod.

  • matt tamaru

    A well deserved rest for a fine human being. Your drawings are as alive and vivid as the day you penciled them. You will live on forever. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

  • Nick

    How very sad indeed. R.I.P.

  • NancyB

    Thank you Ollie, for being a wonderful animator;

    for writing, with Frank Thomas, the animator’s Bible and other fine books on the secrets of Disney animation;

    and most importantly, for being an encouraging mentor and friend, particularly to the female students at the California Institute of the Arts.

    I first met Ollie there in 1976 at our very first show. I was nervous as a cat and didn’t know what these great folk would think of our little films. As Frank and Ollie turned to leave the room, Ollie turned back to me and whispered, behind one hand, “Stick with it. We need more women in this business!”

    I was proud and honored to have Ollie, his wife Marie, and Frank and Jeanette Thomas as my friends. They were wonderful artists but more importantly, wonderful people.

  • Hans Walther

    I’ll miss you, Ollie…

  • greg m.

    Ollie was such an inspiration and brought sooooo many magical moments to my life, through his wonderful animation! He was always so friendly and giving. I can only hope to try and inject a little more of the type of performances that the greats like Ollie gave to us – they truly had that special “something extra”!

    God bless you Ollie!

    Rest in Peace.

  • http://makassurfshop.com Matthew

    Ollie was a giant…a legend. And an extremely kind and generous soul. I remember meeting him, and Frank, at an animation event early in my career. He was so encouraging and generous with his time as I pursued my career at Disney. One of my greatest possessions is a picture with him and Frank from that event. It is more dear to me today.

  • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com Daryl T

    As a animation fan and student it is a very sad day to think that all the nine old men are gone. They created the craft we study today, and brought generations of people sublime memories and entertainment. I wish I could of met him and they all will surely be missed. God Bless.

  • Joey Ellis

    Classy guy. I wish we had more of his kind around.

  • Lucy

    Thank you. You never met me, but your work meant so much to me. So thank you.

  • Danielle

    As one of the several kids who loved Disney features and wore out their libraries’ copies of “The Illusion of Life” growing up, it would be an understatement to say his work had an impact on me. He’s a major reason why I’m doing what I’m doing today, and I wish I could’ve met him at least once. Thanks, Ollie.

  • Joe

    ollie thank you so much for all your work , this is truely a sad day.

  • http://www.andyseredy.com Andy Seredy

    bye Ollie, and thanks.

    andy

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    The end of an era indeed. I guess it’s time to bring the documentary machine out of the closet now, and reflect on the remarkable impressions that Ollie and the other Nine Old Men have had on the history and evolution of animation.

  • Ron Cohee

    What a wonderful, inspiring life.
    Thank you, Ollie, for breathing life into such memorable characters.
    Also, thanks for looking at some silly flipbooks and wishing a naive 18 year-old the best of luck – I’ll never forget it! God bless you.

  • Jeff Kurtti

    One day we spent a couple of hours shooting interviews with Ollie at his home Studio for a series of documentaries. For the sake of the shot, we had him “perched” on a high stool before his drawing board.

    Gracious as always, Ollie endured, and at the end of the shoot he quietly asked, “Remember the old man that Dick Van Dyke did in Mary Poppins?” Of course I did, and as Ollie slowly and deliberately stretched and felt his way back to standing after what was an uncomfortable few hours, he deadpanned, “I used to think that was damned funny.”

  • http://jasonswickportfolio.blogspot.com/ Jason Swick

    RIP Ollie. Your characters have shaped so much of who I am today(the good parts). Thank you.

  • http://www.bnepro.wordpress.com bp

    godspeed, ollie. we shall truly miss you and your kind.
    ‘the end of an era’…to be sure.

  • Chuck R.

    I can’t add much to the wonderful sentiments expressed here, so I’ll be content to join the chorus, and say I’m very grateful for the painstaking and heartfelt work done by Ollie, Frank, the celebrated Nine Old Men and those great talents outside the Nine. You created personalities out of thin air, and made it look easy, though it most certainly was not.
    Rest in peace, Ollie and God bless!

    I’m also grateful to all those writers and historians who turned the spotlight on these wonderful artists and gave them the credit they deserve during their lifetimes. We are all richer for it. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.tomsito.com Tom Sito

    Ollie was more than a great artist and writer, he was a friend to everyone who wanted to be an animator. Ollie’s passing is indeed the end of an Era. The great Disney artists of the Golden Age of Animation, whose work has inspired, poured over, studied and written about by more people around the world than anyone else. We shall not see their like again. It is now up to us to keep their examples and preserve what they had taught us.

    Mo matter how busy he was, Ollie always made time to help a younger person who was trying to enter the business.

    His example is now to you, the animators who knew him and loved him, to pay that forward. When you help younger artists along their path, you are repaying Ollie for the time he took to help you.

  • http://www.ovinedelcu.blogspot.com ovi

    RIP Ollie.

    He is in a much better place.

    >oVi

  • http://wardomatic.blogspot.com Ward

    The end of an era. It was quite a ride, wasn’t it?

    RIP, Ollie. We’ll miss ya. And many thanks for inspiring us all to no ends.

  • red pill junkie

    Godspeed, kind wizard :-(

  • Jeff Goodwin

    I was really touched and sad when I heard that Ollie had died. He and his art will be missed. But he will always live on throught the hearts of young film watchers, who thrill to his creations.

  • http://torontoanimation.blogspot.com TempleDog

    Dead. Dead?!? Only physically. Y’know how many animators this dude’s inspired? He’s pantheon. Freakin’ immortal. Long may he rock.

  • Alessandro Cugno from Italy

    RIP Ollie! You were a great of animation, and a great companion in our lives with your wonderful art!

  • http://ryanmcculloch.com Ryan McCulloch

    This news made me very sad, I always kinda felt like I knew him even though we’d never met. But I always REALLY liked him when I saw him interviewed, and LOVED his work in the medium. I’m glad to see how much he has touched everyone else’s lives as well. He will truly be missed, but we will always have his animations to remember him by. god Bless Brad Bird for introducing the new generations to them:)

  • Lino Cappellini

    Goodbye Ollie…and thank you..for everything.
    xxx

  • Chris Sobieniak

    It stunned me to have read about it this morning, and just getting around to accept it. Makes me a little misty to watch “Frank & Ollie” all over again (and get around to reading The Illusion of Life too).

    R.I.P. Ollie.

  • R. Lopez

    Rest in peace. His work won’t be going away anytime soon.

  • Ariana Escobar

    aww ollie.. rest in peace :(
    thanks for your eternal inspiration to all of us!

  • Reid Hutchison

    Their work lives on and will continue to entrall and inspire future generations of animators and viewers alike :)

  • Anne

    Thank you for all your brilliant work and inspiration, Ollie.

    It makes me smile to know that somewhere in space and time, 9 “old men” are having a really awesome reunion… :)

  • http://animaencyclopedia.blogspot.com Martin Juneau

    That’s really a sad new but i’m sure he gets a great life. We should remember Ollie. Rest in peace and yeah, it’s the end of a era of animation

  • http://www.ryankramer.blogspot.com Ryan K

    Thank you Ollie for all the inspiration…through your brilliant work you will truly live on forever.

  • http://cidcartoons.blogspot.com Rodrigo

    RIP Sir Ollie.

  • http://www.creativetalentnetwork.com Tina Price

    Thank you for pulling all of these great articles on Ollie into one place and thanks for everything to all the 9 old men who paved the way for people like us to have a terrific career in this medium. “Thank You”…

  • Don Mann

    I was just at Frank Thomas’s house 2 weeks ago and saw his widow. Ollie used to live right next door she told me and he and Frank would CARPOOL to the studio together! Long before there was even a carpool lane. These guys were the best of the best and always will be.

  • http://brenttilton.blogspot.com Brent Tilton

    My deepest sympathies to his friends and family. Thank you Ollie for being such an inspiration. It has also been inspiring to read all the tributes and comments here. Fare thee well Ollie.

  • Darrin Hubbard

    I actually don’t believe he’s gone. I don’t think I’ll ever believe. This was a truly gifted animator. I don’t think they’ll ever be another one like him. God bless.

  • http://crisafullidoodles.blogspot.com/ Marc Crisafulli

    Growing up, Frank and Ollie seemed to be Walt’s official spokesmen with their films, books, and the verve with which they spoke about animation. I wore out the videotape I had of the Ollie Johnston episode of “The Disney Family Album”. Watching Ollie was almost as fun as watching his scenes! He seemed completely devoid of cynicism and more enthusiastic than any adult I knew at home. There was no doubt- this was the picture definition of an animator.
    Still is!

  • John Glimco

    With his passing, I can’t help but feel the loss of the last of Walt’s generation. While being deeply saddened by the loss, I will always remain grateful his tremendous gifts to all of us through his art. Thank you Ollie for your spirit, your love of life, and your gift of friendship and laughter!

  • Eleanor Russell

    that video was great. R.I.P. to a true pioneer.

  • Matthew Raphael Czuprynski

    I’m dissapointed to hear that a famous fellow animator died not too long ago. And the last of the Nine Old Men. Their work is and always will be cherished, I’m sad that I never got to meet any of them. But the best I can give tirbute to them is my effort of being the next generation of animators who will take up the torch and maybe surpass their predicessors. It’s depressing that the quality of workmanship has dwindled to today’s standards and hasn’t lived up to the Nine Old Men’s legacy so far. One day, just one day, I will help rekindle that old fire and make sure it’ll never burn out until the end of days. My work is currently less than impressive, but I will make the Old Men and Disney Proud one day. Unless I’m offered to join the ranks of the Disney Animators, I’ll start my own studio and build the company from then on. Hopefully one day, it’ll be the second coming of a new era in animation, and I’ll help start it all. I give tribute to the very people who inspired me, the Nine Old Men and Disney himself. I’ll live up to your legacy or die trying.

  • Pete S.

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I mean the man WAS 95 years old. He was bound to die sooner than later. I remember when Chuck Jones died and every single film any animation student made was dedicated to him and then all the studio tributes started. I remember that ad with Shrek remembering Chuck Jones. That took a lot of nerve considering Chuck jones went on record HATING Shrek and Katzenberg destroyed hand drawn animation. Thank God John Lasseter is bringing it back!

    I grow leary of all these comments like “It’s the end of an era” and such. It’s only the end of an era if younger animators allow it to be so. These men have been retired for decades and their era ended then. The new generation has had 30 years to prove themselves and was doing some great work up until Katzenberg got on his animated epic push.

    Let’s also remember that this is a man. To Ollie’s family he’s a husband, father, grandfather. Show some respect to the family and stop with the “end of an era” stuff. Sure, his work is part of who he will always be but nowhere near as important as who he was as a man.

  • Kyle M.

    As merely a fan and young animator, all I can really say to Ollie is thank you, for leaving so much for young animtors to learn from. I’m glad that he lived to see how much his work was appreciated before he passed away. I didn’t know him personally, I can’t pretend that I did. But if it were not for him, Walt Disney, and the other pioneering animators, all of us enjoying a career in animation wouldn’t be where we are today.

    This isn’t an end of an era, we’ve been in a new era for a while now, and animation still lives! Ollie, Walt Disney, and other animators of the time live on not only through their work, but through the work done today in animation. Again, I have to say “thank you” to Ollie, for his contribution to inventing animation for all of us.

  • http://mikeperaza.com/index.html Mike Peraza

    I was lucky enough to meet Ollie (and Frank) back in 1973 when I first came out to Cal Arts for the summer and then again when I was fortunate enough to get a job at Disney animation in the late 1970s.

    Ollie like the other Disney veterans never got tired of helping us newbies with our drawings. Teaching us to see the character within before concentrating too much on what was on the outside. I remember running into him regularly downstairs and he never minded my goofy questions while being patient and kind with his answers.

    He like Don Griffith, could take your crude attempts at drawing and place a sheet over it and before you knew it, made your mediocre attempt actually look pretty good. You learned a great deal from Ollie and his generation, not just the art of animation, but the heart of animation.

  • Paul

    Truly the end of a Disney era. I had the unique opportunity to meet Ollie and Frank more than a decade ago when they came to Philadelphia. Not only meet them but to interview them. I am a radio reporter here in Philly and they were most gracious with their time and talent. In return they only wanted one thing, to see the Liberty Bell. I arranged for an exclusive visit to the Liberty Bell for the two of them and their wives and the park ranger with whom I arranged the visit was a huge Disney fan. So she was very accomodating and brought along a copy of one of Frank and Ollie’s books to get signed. They were thrilled to sign the book and to have their picture taken in front of the Liberty Bell. I sent the pictures to them after their visit and got a hand-written note in return. A treasured item for me and one that allows me to remember fondly Ollie and Frank and their warmth, personality, graciousness, talent, and contributions to the Wonderful World of Disney.

  • R. Lopez

    It’s really interesting to see how Ollie has been a part of so many lives directly and indirectly. That’s probably the real Disney “magic,” if there is such a thing.

  • http://threedsnackgmail.com Nate

    Never knew him personally but knew him through his work. Hope we can continue what they started, and carry it in the right direction. RIP Ollie. You’ve inspired millions.

  • http://jmanu.blogspot.com/ Juan Manuel

    A legacy, an inspiring life and art for a lot of generations in all over the world. Thank you Mr. Johnston!
    Descanse en paz

  • http://www.magnitude.co.uk Daryn Hobden

    Ollie’s legacy will live on as an inspiration to all animators. I have your animation checklist pinned to my board so I can see it everyday and always will. I’m even thinking of using it in my everyday life as well. “Don’t be careless”. I need that… “Concentrate on drawing clear, not clean”. I can use that with my wife the next time she inspects my washing up / cleaning… should have used “spend half your time planning and the other half animating”… before I wrote this comment. Anyway this is my daft way of saying thanks. RIP Ollie.

  • Rick Farmiloe

    So sad to see Ollie’s passing…….I can’t tell you how great it was to be around some of the Nine Old Men when I started at Disney in 1982. Frank and Ollie were working on their Bambi book. Wollie Reitherman was still at the studio off and on, Eric Larson was our in-house mentor, Ward Kimball would come by from time to time and give lectures, as would Marc Davis. All these wonderful, giving pioneers of our industry, willingly, lovingly passing on their knowledge and integrity to us. We were very lucky to be in their midst for that wonderful time. Ollie’s and the rest of their work and high standards are something future generations will continue to enjoy and be inspired by. R.I.P. Ollie!!!!

  • A. Lopez

    The Nine Old Men are now complete… forever may their hearts remain “Young.”
    Mr. Johnston, thank you for the laughter and words of wisdom that you and Mr.Thomas shared with me one fun memorable afternoon. I am just a fan that you made feel incredibly special and will always hold you dear to my heart. It is with no doubt that your legend will live throughout generations to come as well be greatly missed. The world is a better place because of you and your contribution to animation… thank you.

  • Robert Poole

    Ollie Johnston, alongside Frank Thomas, Ward Kimball, and Milt Khal, will always be remembered by me. These men paved the way for mean just as great as they were like Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, and even John Lasseter and his crew at Pixar. Their legacy shall live on in one way or another.