Animator and studio owner Dale Baer died on Friday at age 70, according to online statements from colleagues.
Quiet and shy, Baer’s name may not be as familiar as other contemporary animation greats, but he was a highly respected animator’s animator and beloved by colleagues. “He was one of the kindest people I’ve worked with,” said animator and director Clay Kaytis. “So talented and so humble. A true one-of-a-kind and I’m grateful to have known him.” Over a fifty-year career in the industry, Baer contributed to dozens of beloved projects at Disney and elsewhere. Just to name a few of his credits at Disney: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Lion King, The Emperor’s New Groove, The Princes and the Frog, and Zootopia.
Born in Denver, Colorado, on June 15, 1950, Baer attended Chouinard Art Institute (which later became Calarts) and started working at Filmation in 1970. He joined Disney in 1971, and was among the first handful of employees hired as part of the studio’s new training program. As an inbetweener, he worked on Robin Hood, and was later trained by Disney animators John Lounsbery, Hal King, and Eric Larson. Baer eventually moved into animation, working on other Disney features including The Rescuers and Pete’s Dragon before leaving Disney in the late 1970s.