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DisneyWard Kimball

Definitive Biography Of Animation Icon Ward Kimball To Be Published In 2018

New York–based publisher ANTIBOOKCLUB is officially announcing today the acquisition of my in-depth biography of Disney animation legend Ward Kimball (1914–2002).

The Ward Kimball Biography (working title) will be the definitive volume about the remarkable career and captivating personal life of the animator who supervised the creation of iconic Disney characters including Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, the crows in Dumbo, the mice and Lucifer in Cinderella, and the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and March Hare in Alice in Wonderland.

Ward Kimball.

A tireless creative mind, Kimball sought new avenues of artistic expression throughout his life, leading to work as a film director (resulting in two Oscars), a bandleader (his group Firehouse Five Plus Two recorded 12 albums and became a national sensation), and the pursuit of audacious hobbies (the most audacious of all perhaps being the installation of a full-size railroad in his backyard).

I was granted unprecedented access to Kimball’s private journals and family archives, and have used those materials to craft what I hope readers will find to be a page-turning portrait of one of the most original creative talents of the twentieth century. The book will celebrate Kimball’s rebellious and influential accomplishments, without overlooking the considerable roadblocks and frustrations that came with being an innovator and nonconformist in the Hollywood film industry.

Ward Kimball's Grizzly Flats backyard railroad.
Ward Kimball’s Grizzly Flats backyard railroad.

The biography will be illustrated with never-before-seen photos, personal artwork, and rare ephemera from the personal archives of Ward Kimball.

This project, as many longtime readers of the site may know, had a false start with another publisher a few years ago. It pleases me to say that this book is not the same book that I was working on earlier—it is a far better book that is uncompromised by corporate influence.

A Firehouse Five Plus Two album cover.
A Firehouse Five Plus Two album cover.

It’s a real treat be working with a publisher that values animation history and shares my commitment to accuracy and transparency in historical research. I’ve been following the work of publisher Gabriel Levinson since he started, and admire how he has used his publishing house to highlight daring literary fiction from around the globe, in addition to publishing the artwork of Don Hertzfeldt and an important historical volume about Terry Southern. I’m confident that ANTIBOOKCLUB will do an amazing job of ensuring that this project is treated with the care and respect that Kimball’s incredible life demands.

Painting by Ward Kimball.
Painting by Ward Kimball.

In making today’s announcement, ANTIBOOKCLUB publisher Gabriel Levinson added: “At long last, Ward Kimball’s larger-than-life story will be given its due. Amid Amidi’s exhaustively researched, vivacious biography fully realizes Kimball’s myriad contributions to his fields and the joie de vivre with which he embraced both art and life. This biography is nothing short of a stunner and I am thrilled to be its publisher.”

The Ward Kimball Biography is currently scheduled to be published in the second half of 2018.

Ward Kimball, 1959.
  • Mesterius

    “It pleases me to say that this book is not the same book that I was working on earlier—it is a far better book that is uncompromised by corporate influence.”

    That’s great news! Buuut… I’m assuming “uncompromised by corporate influence” will mean no Disney-copyrighted artwork or photos?

    • AmidAmidi

      Exactly. Thankfully there’s thousands of examples of Ward’s artwork online, and in books by John Canemaker, Andreas Deja, and many others. My goal is to tell the untold stories of how he created those characters and fit into the studio. On top of that, his life and art extends in innumerable fascinating directions beyond Disney. Not republishing the same model sheets and film stills that have already been seen a million times is a small price to pay to present Ward’s life in an accurate, complete, and honest fashion.

      • It’s a small compromise if anything, I’m fine with it. I’m just glad we’re finally getting this.

  • Jonathan Lemon

    Outstanding! Can’t wait.

  • Elsi Pote

    Congrats Amid!

  • Robert Schaad

    CONGRATS AMID!!!

  • Congrats!

    Congratulations Amid! I look forward to reading it when it comes out.

  • Gerard de Souza

    Congratulations, Amid. Good news for all us fans and history buffs. Thank you.

  • Sandro Cleuzo

    Wonderful news! I can not wait for it.

  • Chicken McPhee

    Great look into the culture. Can’t wait to see it.

  • Mark Mayerson

    Amid, I congratulate you for having the guts and patience to seek an alternative to the compromised version that Disney would allow. I look forward to reading the unexpurgated book.

  • That’s great, Amid. I just wish that Spümcø book would see the light of day, but I guess that’s just wishful thinking (we still have Sick Little Monkeys though..)..

  • Christian Z.

    Looking forward to it.

  • David L.

    Congratulations, Amid! This is very exciting news and something I have looked forward to for a long time, now.

  • raucous cat

    Congratulations, Amid!

  • Ben F

    Congrats Amid, this looks like it will be awesome!

  • Anonymous

    Back in the mid eighties in an animation class I took one of the instructors said, “A warning would be sent out every time Ward Kimball was on the studio lot.” I have no idea what that meant. Maybe this book will answer the question.

  • This is great news! Kimball is my favorite animator. Thank you for your persistence and commitment to the truth and to quality.

  • Laurey Foulkes

    Yay!!!!! So exciting!!! I can’t wait!

  • Wilbert Plijnaar

    Congrats! Also to myself cause I’ve been looking forward to buy this book since you first announced it. :D

  • Ward

    I’m beyond excited to know that this book will finally see the light of day, Amid. Cannot wait!

  • Will the biography cover Kimball’s deep interest in UFOs?

  • CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

  • Bruce Murray

    This is fantastic news!

  • George Bullwinkel

    Well done, sir!